Franklin Electric submersible motors still going strong after 30 years

Franklin Electric SA customer Chris Prinsloo did a double take when he removed the Franklin Electric 4” submersible motor from his borehole only to find there was nothing wrong with it. The fact that is was 30 years old and had never been replaced was remarkable enough, but discovering that it was still in perfect working condition was astounding. Client testimonials such as these are not unusual when it comes to Franklin Electric SA and their product line of submersible water lubricated motors, with two others at least, still operating faultlessly since they were first purchased in 1978 and 1972, the year that Franklin Electric was founded in South Africa.

The three reclaimed submersible motors on display whose combined age tally up to an incredible 112 years

The three reclaimed submersible motors on display whose combined age tally up to an incredible 112 years

Franklin Electric SA will be keeping the three reclaimed submersible motors on display whose combined age tally up to an incredible 112 years. “There is nothing wrong with the motors,” states Jano Verreynne, Product Manager of Centrifugal Technology, Drivers & Controls for Franklin Electric SA. “We exchanged them with our client’s for new ones so we could put the old ones on display to showcase their longstanding performance.”

The three reclaimed motors have all been replaced by Franklin Electric SA at their own cost and although the aesthetics of the motors may have changed slightly over the years, the inner mechanisms of the component are still based on the original Franklin Electric design from 1944.

Franklin Electric SA will be launching its next generation of 4” submersible motors with upgrades that include a new 316 stainless steel casing, top and bottom end bells. The new design also incorporates a novel plug sleeve for ease of installation and to reduce the risk of water ingress. The new model also has an outer replenishing option via syringe.

As per the original design, the motors remain water-lubricated as opposed to oil-filled which reduces the risk of borehole water contamination or the motor malfunctioning should external water leak into the component. In addition, the depth of installation of the motor has no adverse effect as the pressure on the exterior of the borehole and within the water-filled motor remains the same. “Oil-filled motors are cheaper to manufacture, but in the long term water-filled motors are much more cost effective with an extensively longer operational lifespan, as the Franklin Electric motors have demonstrated,” explains Verreynne.

Franklin Electric SA is the largest supplier of submersible borehole pump motors, water pumping systems and submersible petrol pumps in southern Africa. Lyon Van Der Merwe, Application Engineering Manager for Franklin Electric SA, says that approximately 1,2-million of the 4” submersible motors have been sold in the country since the company was established in South Africa in 1972.

In a testimonial to Franklin Electric, longstanding customer Chris Prinsloo applauds the Franklin Electric submersible pumps and their extensive lifespan.

Franklin Electric Standard Motor

Franklin Electric Standard Motor

Prinsloo, a qualified electrician, explains how he first sunk his own borehole in 1986, using a submersible motor and pump system purchased from Franklin Electric SA. The pump was installed at a depth of 24 metres with the borehole keeping his garden green for 20 years without a hitch. After tripping his electricity supply on a few occasions the pump was removed and a lead out cable replaced, solving the problem. During a drought in the ‘90s, Prinsloo pushed his borehole pump to full capacity as it supplied his entire household and residence with all their fresh water needs.

In 2015 and after almost 30 years of faultless service the pump once again began tripping Prinsloo’s power supply. Convinced that the pump and motor had had their day Prinsloo went as far as purchasing a new pump system before the old unit was even unearthed. “You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the only problem was the lead out cable once again – and not the pump or motor itself,” exclaims a clearly astounded Prinsloo. 

Franklin Electric is one of the oldest submersible motor manufacturers in the world and the Franklin Electric 4” motor has been the driving force behind residential and light commercial submersible pumps for decades. Franklin Electric SA’s early product lines consisted mainly of submersible motors with the first shipment arriving in Johannesburg in May 1972. Verreynne says that one of the three reclaimed motors that are now back in Franklin Electric SA’s possession was manufactured in February 1972, making it one of the first ever to be purchased in South Africa. “And it still works,” he says modestly, leaving one with the impression that when it comes to Franklin Electric submersible motors, some things are really built to last.

Which goes to say: “Over decades Franklin Electric has quietly been slaving away successfully for you – if you installed a Franklin Electric.”

Contact  Jano Verreynne - JVerreynne@fele.com