Everything is Perfecta
It was a revolution on the heating market and a milestone for the company: The Wilo-Perfecta heralded the era of glandless pumps in 1953 and became a cornerstone of Wilo’s success for decades to come.
During the first years after the war, the demand for heating systems for newly built homes increased dramatically. It took a great deal of effort to ramp up production and satisfy the market need despite the lack of materials.
While tackling these challenges, Wilhelm Opländer worked on refining the glandless pump technology protected by his patent. He found a partner in Switzerland who was able to contribute his expertise.
While Europe was fighting a war between 1939 and 1945, neutral Switzerland had made some technical advancements. Dr Karl Rütschi from pump manufacturer Pumpenbau Brugg had already introduced a similar idea for a maintenance-free heating pump without a stuffing box in his home country. It was a small, yet powerful, pump that required no maintenance after installation because it was lubricated by the heating water to be conveyed.
Furthermore, it was very quiet and experienced hardly any difficulties with signs of wear. Wilhelm Opländer saw its potential and, as in earlier years, the company demonstrated an instinct for the needs of times to come.
In 1952, the company run by Louis and Wilhelm Opländer split into two independent branches: heating company Louis Opländer and pump manufacturer Wilo.
That same year, Wilhelm Opländer took over the license from Dr Karl Rütschi for his maintenance-free circulation pump without a stuffing box. In combination with Opländer’s own technical solutions, the company was now on the cutting edge of technology.
As a licensee, Wilo was the only company in Germany permitted to produce and sell this innovative glandless technology. While Wilo had acquired the expertise from Rütschi, it was by no means a matter of just putting together finished parts. In addition, the pump had been introduced in Switzerland only shortly before, and there was hardly any practical experience. The company had to gain that in Germany itself.
Prior to starting production for the German heating market, Opländer needed a further partner for the production of the complicated and fragile motor part. This innovative, pioneering heating circulator required a canned motor that was little known in Germany and had to be separated by an extremely thin wall measuring just 0.1 to 0.3 millimetres. To produce the canned motor, Wilo had teamed up with Bauknecht, who were experienced with these types of motors.
The pump part with the housing, impeller and cover plate was the least of their worries. The can, however, which had to hermetically separate the rotor running in the water from the stator in order to keep it dry, was a challenge.
Despite the challenging design, Bauknecht had developed five motor types with differing performances after just six months. In the meantime, Wilhelm Opländer and his employees had completed the pump housings so that the first Wilo-Perfecta was ready to be built at the beginning of 1953. The introduction of this series heralded the end of the circulation accelerator that had been patented in 1929.
The gauge glass
Wilo had already demonstrated its customer friendliness with its maintenance and service offers for many decades. The gauge glass of the Perfecta pump was a further milestone on this path. As the company’s trademark, it was installed on the motor side of the pump.
This interesting unique feature made the circulator particularly attractive, and not just visually. The gauge glass also provided a very easy way to monitor operation and the direction of rotation. It could be removed during operation for the purpose of cleaning or checking the ease of movement of the pump shaft without draining the system.
The small apparatus received the iF DESIGN AWARD for its innovative design in 1964. Thanks to its being maintenance-free, the long service life, low-wearing operation and low noise level, the Wilo-Perfecta had enough advantages not only to shape Wilo’s pump business for decades, but to function as the centrepiece of the heating system in millions of households.