Since the early 1990s, the market has required manufacturers of pumps for household appliances to reduce the water pump motor’s power, decrease noise and solve problems arising after extended downtime, such as stuck seals.

Meccanotecnica Umbra took on this challenge 25 years ago, developing a material for sliding rings to reduce the friction. This material is called Mecflon and is an Meccanotecnica Umbra patented PTFE with appropriate fillers.

“Mecflon has been, and still is, an essential product for Meccanotecnica Umbra. With this product, we became the benchmark in many markets. For example, in Europe’s household appliance market, we exceeded 50 % of shares and about 40 % in the international one,” says Paolo Zenone, Industrial Division Director at Meccanotecnica Umbra spa.

“In the early 1990s, the market of household appliances, dishwashers in particular, required to cut motor power and eliminate the noise resulting from the mechanical seal,” says Paolo Zenone, Industrial Division Director at Meccanotecnica Umbra spa. “After all, the lower the power of the motor connected to the starting torque, the lower the costs. All we needed was a material that didn’t get stuck, especially after extended downtime.”

This market requirement has started a long evolution that Meccanotecnica Umbra has embraced, overcoming this material’s limits. Mecflon exceeds the structural limits of materials, making the most out of them. Zenone explains: “A product which has continued to improve for 25 years. The Y1 type allowed us to

  • reduce the pump’s noise,
  • consumed power,
  • and blockage issues,
  • securing our place at the forefront of the market.”

In Mecflon, PTFE (polytetrafluorethylene) is the base, the plastic matrix to which fillers, such as glass fibre (in the first Y1 version) or carbon micro powder (in the Y4 version), should be added.

“All versions have found their place on the market, especially Y4, which is gradually replacing the previous versions in all applications,” Zenone gives an overview. “Y4 has even more wear resistance than its predecessors, which is essential for materials sensitive to abrasive contaminants”.

Fine-tuning the process took a lot of time

“Passing from Y1 (1992) to Y4 (2003-2004) involved hard work, as we had to understand how to improve our seal, which was first used in dishwasher pumps and now also in coffee machines”, added Zenone. “Recently, Mecflon Y4 has succeeded even in the UK booster pump market as it improves mains hydraulic pressure. Mecflon is getting also noticed for the small self-priming pumps. This material performs well, even in the presence of water with fine debris and sand. Mecflon ensures more efficiency, more wear-resistance and lower starting torque. It has been the key to preventing stiction and noise. We also achieved remarkable results in designing wear-resistant brushless motors.”

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