If any company has been molded and shaped over the years by nature’s wrath, it’s been MWI Pumps of Deerefield Beach, Fla. The company originally went into business in 1926 as a manufacturer of iron and steel equipment. That same year, however, southern Florida was hit by the Miami Hurricane of 1926. It was considered at the time the most destructive hurricane ever to strike the United States, and it was the storm that would forever strengthen the company’s manufacturing focus.
Witnessing the state’s dire need for reliable pumping systems, the company went to work. But no one could predict the value of these dewatering systems until two years later, when the hurricane of 1928 hit the Florida coast and rain filled Lake Okeechobee to the brim, crumbling its dikes and destroying 2,000 lives. Subsequently, the U.S. government constructed one of the most extensive flood-control systems in the world, and thousands of MWI pumps became an important part of this vast water-control network.
Today, almost 77 years later, MWI pumps still service South Florida’s water management districts —as well as thousands of customers across the globe, either directly or through rental companies. Partnering in this effort over the years is the John Deere Company, early on as a supplier of tractors for its PTO-driven pumps, and later as a supplier of engines for its diesel-driven units.
MWI also provides emergency services. Armed with its own fleet of 700 high-volume pumps, MWI and John Deere have been aiding the beleaguered Southeast after eight hurricanes and several tropical storms this year plummeted massive amounts of rain onto the region. St. Charles Parish, La., was no exception. “That’s where a lot of pumps went,” says John Springer, general manager of the company’s rental division. Among those deployed were 24-inch pumps powered by the John Deere 6081H engines, each capable of moving up to 20,000 gpm.
John Deere engines are a standard component in MWI’s diverse product line, which includes heavy-duty trash pumps; self-priming, positive-displacement Rotoflo pumps; end-suction, centrifugal, trash-handling Prime-Rite pumps; and the hydraulic-submersible Hydraflo.
Springer says John Deere engines offer the longevity and ease of service the company needs. “We run our engines hard, around the clock. We can burn 10,000 hours pretty quick. Our engines also work in harsh environments, with blowing sand, salt, and high temperatures. A lot of engines don’t hold up in those conditions because they aren’t water cooled. Sand will get into the air-intake of other engines and destroy them. We’ve never had a John Deere engine sanded. They’re good, solid, water-cooled engines.”
John Deere engines often reach 15,000 to 20,000 hours before ever needing to be rebuilt,” relates Springer. “Six months ago, we had a John Deere 6081A run 22,000 hours. We rebuilt it, and now it’s working in Sterling Heights, Mich., on a sewer-bypass project.”
He adds that the John Deere engine’s wet-sleeve design makes them easy to rebuild. “We have our own in-house repair facility, and John Deere engines are the easiest and least expensive to rebuild. The engines aren’t complicated, and the literature and manuals are real simple to use. It makes a huge difference.”
That’s important since MWI tends to keep its John Deere engines for decades at a time. “We rebuild our John Deere engines over and over again. I have 20- and 25-year old engines — rebuilt 4239 and 4039 models — that are still running in the fleet, and they run great.
“It all boils down to hours and dollars,” says Springer. “John Deere engines exceed the competition by 15 to 20 percent in terms of longevity and durability, and they have a better price. It’s just a better engine across the board.”
John Deere Engines:
- PowerTech 4045D — 62-hp @ 1,800 rpm, 4-cylinder, 4.5L, naturally aspirated diesel engine;
- PowerTech 4045T — a 98-hp @ 1,800 rpm, 4-cylinder, 4.5L, turbocharged diesel engine;
- PowerTech 6068D — an 88-hp @ 1,800 rpm, 6-cylinder, 6.8L, naturally aspirated diesel engine;
- PowerTech 6068T — 139-hp @ 1,800 rpm, 6-cylinder, 6.8L, turbocharged diesel engine;
- PowerTech 6081H — a 267-hp, 6-cylinder, 8.1L, air-to-air aftercooled diesel engine.
- Flint Power Systems, Albany, Ga., (229) 888-1900; email: [email protected]