Window and door maker Andersen Corp. is investing $45 million to add capacity at two manufacturing facilities in Minnesota, with the bulk of the upgrades and new jobs planned for the Cottage Grove plant, which makes products from a patented composite material called Fibrex.
Made of vinyl and wood fiber reclaimed from the company's manufacturing process for its wood windows, Fibrex is considered a green material in terms of sustainability and energy efficiency for its insulating properties.
Fibrex is used to make Andersen's 100 series windows and doors, which were installed in the 2014 Greenbuild showcase home in New Orleans last October, as well as the company's line of replacement windows called Renewal by Andersen.
The Renewal products are manufactured in Cottage Grove, which was built in 1995 to launch that line. The privately held company will spend $38 million to expand the building and equip it. Construction of a 125,000-square foot addition is expected to take a year. Then, the company plans to add about 200 new full-time jobs. About 450 employees work there currently.
Andersen also will put $7 million into its 10-yearold North Branch extrusion operation, which makes Fibrex and lineal materials — which are decorative trim pieces — for the Andersen 100 series and the Renewal replacement windows.
In addition, Andersen just opened an $18 million addition built onto its manufacturing plant in Bayport, Minn., where the 112-year-old company has its headquarters. This facility makes the Andersen 100 series windows and patio doors that were introduced in 2009. About 100 new full-time jobs will be added there.
The announcement about the Cottage Grove and North Branch expansions was made during an official opening event for the Bayport facility on April 6. Andersen President and CEO Jay Lund said in a press release that it is an exciting time for the company.
“After navigating a historic housing market recession, our markets are beginning to recover and more importantly our investments in innovation and diversification are fueling the growth of our company,” he said.
Lund also thanked state agencies for supporting the Cottage Grove expansion with economic incentives. The Minnesota Investment Fund is giving $500,000 to the project and Andersen will get $1.5 million from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund if it meets hiring goals.
The company says it already has more than 10,000 employees, making it the largest window and door manufacturer in North America.
Andersen also makes Silver Line and American Craftsman vinyl windows and patio doors. However, the company markets its Fibrex products as superior, saying the 100 series is “the smart alternative to vinyl” and the Renewal line is twice as strong as vinyl and low maintenance compared to wood.
The company patented Fibrex in 1992. The composite material is 60 percent plastic and 40 percent pre-consumer reclaimed wood fiber. The recycled content and indoor air quality of doors and windows made from Fibrex has been certified by SBS Global Services.
The Fibrex products used last fall for Greenbuild contributed toward the house meeting standards for LEED v4 platinum — the highest building performance level issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the program for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).