When we first begin talking to end users about their high purity process pumps and we ask if they use Waukesha, they may look at us confused and respond that they have a lot of pumps, especially the blue ones. The reality is that one of the most ubiquitous features of the Waukesha Universal Series pumps is their baby blue cast iron gearcase. Increasingly, however, we’re seeing fewer and fewer cast iron gearcases as customers opt for either Steel-It painted gearcases or stainless steel gearcases. So what options do you have for Waukesha Universal Series pump and which should you choose? Let’s take a closer look.
Painted Carbon Steel
The baby blue painted carbon steel gearcase is the standard option for the Universal 1 and Universal 2 series of pumps. The painted carbon steel gearcase is a low cost, durable option that can withstand heavy-duty use in most food and beverage applications.
There are a few drawbacks to the baby blue painted gearcases, however. While they look great out of the box, the carbon steel casting is susceptible to corrosion. And while a layer of paint can provide some protection against corrosion, it is not foolproof. Over time, the paint can chip or scratch, exposing the underlying carbon steel to corrosion, especially in heavy duty washdown applications. For these heavier duty applications, we recommend either a Steel-It painted gearcase or a stainless steel gearcase.
A legacy option still available for the Waukesha Universal 1 and Universal 2 series of pumps is a cast iron gearcase painted with a specialty paint called Steel-it. This paint contains stainless steel flakes that help to protect the underlying metal from corrosion and other forms of damage. Steel-It is used throughout the food processing industry where hygiene is a paramount concern. Steel-It is USDA compliant for incidental food contact and is able to withstand power washdowns without chipping or flaking.
Like the blue painted gearcases, Steel-it gearcases are a painted layer on top of a carbon steel base gearcase. So if the Steel-It paint does begin to chip, we may start to see some corrosion.
The last option we have for our Waukesha Universal series pump gearcases is stainless steel. Stainless steel is the standard gearcase for the Universal 3 series of pump and one of the more commonly selected options for the Universal 1 and Universal 2 series.
As you probably already know, stainless steel is a highly durable resistant to corrosion and will give us the best bang for our buck of any gearcase material.
And while it is a standard feature on the Universal 3, it is a cost adder for the Universal 1 and Universal 2 series. Fortunately, the supply chain folks at SPX have worked hard to increase volumes to drive down this cost, so the adder is minimal and money well spent.
In summary, the Waukesha Universal Series of pumps offer a range of gearcase options to suit different needs and applications. The choice of gearcase material depends on factors such as the type of application, the environment in which the pump will be used, and the desired level of durability and corrosion resistance. If you have any questions about which gearcase material is best for you PD pump application, please contact a Triplex Sales Engineer today!