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Machining Coolant

1940s era grinder with a Ruthman coolant pump

Original Gusher 7550 on an Oberlin filter (1989)

Rebuilt Acme Gridley 2-5/8 RB-6, 1968 courtesy of Champion Screw Machine Engineering

Original Process Systems vertical turbines on a Henry Filter system (1993)

A significant business segment of Great Lakes Pump & Supply is the machine coolant pump. A member of the Ruthman Companies since 1997, we can now lay claim that “grandpa” invented the sealless coolant pump, designed especially for severe duty, abrasive liquids.

Metal-to-metal boring, grinding, broaching and milling of any sort has long been a process that requires lubricating coolant delivered to the tool bit at the point of contact with the metal part. It was back in 1924 that the founder of Ruthman Companies, Alois Ruthman, conceived a sealless centrifugal pump for this service. He soon trade-named it the Gusher Pump, also coining the term “coolant pump.” The company was (and still is) headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, considered by many the machine tool capital of the world at the time. 

For several decades Ruthman’s coolant pumps became standard for machine tool makers throughout the USA. And back in the day, these machines were made to last decades and the Gusher coolant pump was likewise engineered for equally long life. As a result, Great Lakes Pump & Supply, the exclusive sales arm for Gusher Pumps in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana still receives many orders for Gusher coolant pumps on 50+ year old machines like, Acme-Gridley screw machines, Oster threading machines, and many more machine tools still in use. 

Tried and true Ruthman-Gusher pump models like the 2-C, RP, SP-4521S, 1-P3S, UD, UL, RL, 9025, 11022, 11029…and many more continue to be regularly sold by Great Lakes Pump & Supply to machining operations. It is common for new orders to replace pumps with serial numbers issued in the 1970s and 80s.

Early metal chip filtering within a single machine was generally limited to series of pans, screens, reusable cloth filtering media, magnets, cyclones and centrifuges to separate metal chips from coolant. Our Gusher pumps were engineered to work in the continual presence of metallic swarf. In the 1960s, central filtration systems emerged, increasing fluid volumes and pump size. Pressure filters, large weir and settling tanks, gravity filters, vacuum filters and other positive filters are now commonplace.

For the newcomer to the world of coolant filtration, you may find value in the filtration systems overview from Milacron. ?

Today, manufacturers of the largest central coolant filtration systems require flows so large that pump efficiencies and energy cost (think motor HP requirements) become significant variables when selecting pumps. The Process Systems vertical turbine pump engineered specifically for harsh coolant service environments has proven itself since the 1970s as a durable, trouble-free, and highly efficient pump for these large systems. Concurrently, the adoption of variable frequency drive motors is now commonplace on these large systems to further optimize both coolant delivery pressure and energy costs 


In the early 1990s the major automotive manufacturers adopted a rigorous program to identity causes for production equipment failures, mitigate them, and improve up-time. The logic is obvious: When the line is down it costs us lost production and increased repair and maintenance time and money. During this time our sister company, Process Systems, Inc., responded by partnering with one early adopter of the Process Systems vertical turbine pump on its central filtration systems to study the total cost of ownership.

The effort required traveling to engine and transmission plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Canada to document pump in-service on live central systems, review their repair histories, and develop a report. We formally calculated average repair costs, causes, and mean times between repairs. We calculated energy cost. The outcome of this study proved valuable sustaining Process Systems’ position as the preferred vertical pump on large filters. Today, Great Lakes Pump predominantly serves the coolant pump needs of all in-area major central coolant filter makers such as Barnes, Henry Filters, Filtra Systems, and Hoffman Filters to name a few.   

Great Lakes Pump & Supply Co.
1075 Naughton
Troy, MI 48083
Phone: 245-528-9100

© 2018 Great Lakes Pump