Tundra Companies, a materials maker in White Bear Lake, Minn., says it has developed a heat resistant fiber-reinforced composite that solves the problem of vinyl siding warping from intense sunlight that reflects off a neighbor's energy-efficient window.
Founded in 2004 by Kurt Heikkila, a former senior vice president of technology for Andersen Windows who has 80-plus patents to his credit, Tundra's core competency is coatings.
With 83 employees, mostly scientists, Tundra introduced its proprietary Nanokoat technology this year and is looking to partner with PVC product manufacturers, particularly of vinyl siding.
The company calls materials with the special coating its Eklipse platform. Tundra can blend a Nanokoat-ed particle with PVC to make it better, CEO Thomas Kaiser, the former president of Cardinal Glass Industries Inc., said in a telephone interview.
"By better, I mean it can take the punch coming from the sun or these high-tech coatings on glass but still be sensitive to weight, ease of install and cost," Kaiser said. Eklipse materials are delivered in a pelletized form ready for extrusion or other processes.
Tundra has a partner in the fenestration industry that plans to use Eklipse to compete against vinyl windows. Kaiser described the partner as a large window manufacturer in North America that has no vinyl product.
"Because we're ex-window people, this national player came to us with a request," Kaiser said. "They asked us to come up with a new material that wasn't a me-too material but was designed for them to be different and better and exceed requirements, beat competitors and still be sensitive to economics."
Tundra can do the same for vinyl cladding makers, Kaiser said.