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Q&A With Alex Kanaris

Rock Products Editor Mark Kuhar had a chance to catch up with VDG President Alex Kanaris, who talked at length about the company’s drum motors and ConExpo-Con/Agg.

Kanaris 200x300 1How are VDG’s drum motor products doing in the marketplace these days?

For the past three years we have seen an uptick on our overall drum motors sales. Although we had a slight drop in the food processing industry, in other industry sectors the demand for drum motors has increased.

Are aggregate producers taking full advantage of the benefits the product offers?

Although the drum motor has been used for many years by aggregates producers, it had to be redesigned in order to improve efficiency and reliability. Two years ago, VDG introduced the all new GrizzlyDrive with the patented IronGrip lagging. The GrizzlyDrive is slowly making it to the market with exceptionally positive results. With some training and product experience by the aggregate producers, and the understanding of the benefits of the VDG drum motor usage, the VDG drum motor is gaining acceptance and more aggregate plants are finding more use for VDG drum motors.

Are there parts of United States that are more accepting of drum motors then others?

Drum motors are used in aggregate and mining across United States, Canada and Mexico. The areas we see in United States having larger acceptance of drum motor use is Texas, followed by Minnesota, Colorado and Utah.

Is the manufacturing plant in Canada still performing well for you?

In the last two years the VDG plant in Canada has undergone extensive expansion. We have completed about 80% of the retooling process. Now the plant is equipped with the latest 5-axis robotic production equipment to deliver higher quality parts, and able to reduce the delivery time to our customers. Even with all the changes the VDG plant has undergone, it is still under capacity to produce products and meet delivery times to cover all the industries. The solution was the second manufacturing plant in Shelby Township, Mich.

How is the new plant in Michigan coming along?

We completed construction in mid-2019. Although we have limited production, it is improving month after month. The Michigan plant is getting equipped to the same production level as VDG in Canada. It is currently scheduled for drum motor production from 100 hp to 500 hp. These drum motors are used exclusively in the mining and aggregate sector.

What are your plans for ConExpo-Con/Agg?

VDG will be participating at ConExpo-Con/Agg. We will be exhibiting our new 42-in. diameter 500-hp GrizzlyDrive, along with other models. We will also be featuring the IronGrip lagging along with the brand new drum motor performance monitor systems analyzer.

Are there any plans to do additional regional educational events like the one I attended in Texas?

We do not have anything planned at this time, but having educational events is very important, and provides valuable knowledge about the drum motors to the end users. Currently we are assessing locations that would be suitable for events like the one in Texas. Any suggestions are welcome. We are planning to have four events for 2020.

Are there any new products in the pipeline you would like to talk about?

Although our product is exclusively the drum motor, through extensive research and development over the last five years, we are in the position to introduce the new generation of VDG drum motors at the ConExpo-Con/Agg. The new design drum motors have an internal G rotor pump that circulates the oil inside the drum motor, uses the oil pressure to lubricate all bearings and gears, then pumps the oil out of the drum motor to the external cooler for filtration and conditioning, then circulates it through the cooling core back to the drum motor. This process allows for much longer oil life, easy oil change, a cooler running motor, a much better lubricated bearings and gears that increases the lifespan, reduces internal pressure and eliminates oil leakage. The new design increases the overall lifetime of the drum motor to 80,000 hours without maintenance. Another new product we will be introducing at ConExpo-Con/Agg is the new motor, gears, bearings and oil analyzer. It is a small hand held unit that the maintenance person will be able to plug it in to any VDG drum motor and record current draw, voltage, power usage, electric motor winding temperature, oil temperature and bearing vibrations.