Focus Groups Confirm Eklipse™ Composites As Viable Home Siding Material Alternative

Vast majority of trade professionals in study recognize material’s performance benefits over vinyl and fiber cement

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

For more information contact:

Mike Deaner, Product Manager
mdeaner@TundraCompanies.com

 

St. Paul, Minn. — Tundra® Companies today released the findings of a 2016 research study evaluating the commercial viability of Tundra Eklipse™ composite materials for use in the manufacture of home siding.

Eklipse composites are strong, durable, lightweight, paintable and highly heat-resistant, making them suitable for a variety of potential end-uses, including siding. This performance is enabled by Tundra’s proprietary NanoKoat technology, which uniquely processes particles, polymers and coatings to elevate desired properties while controlling costs. Eklipse composites are delivered in a pelletized form that is ready for extrusion.

The focus group study, conducted by independent market research firm Opinion Dive, included four sessions in three markets: Charlotte, Boston and Minneapolis (two sessions). A total of 88 residential architects, builders and siding contractors participated in the sessions. All were chosen based on their industry expertise and were paid a fee for their time.

During the sessions, three siding samples were shown with product names withheld: a popular vinyl product, a popular fiber-cement product, and siding manufactured with Eklipse material. The group was asked a series of non-leading questions on perceived product aesthetics, performance and other key attributes.

Feedback was uniformly positive for the siding manufactured with Eklipse material, which compared favorably against both vinyl and fiber-cement siding in all key categories (download results PDF for more detail). In fact, 90 percent of the participants said they would purchase this siding today if it were available and offered at a price somewhere between the typical cost of vinyl and fiber cement.

“These were the highest focus group scores our company has ever seen for a new product,” said John Cashmore, Opinion Dive president and independent researcher. “I think the results show both that an unmet need exists in the home siding marketplace, and that the Eklipse material is capable of fulfilling that need.”

Common feedback for the siding made from Eklipse material was that it is lightweight and easy to install like vinyl, but with a higher-quality look and greater perceived resistance to impact, bending and breaking. Compared to fiber-cement siding, participants saw similar curb appeal, durability and strength, but remarked that it was a far less heavy and brittle product.

“We are obviously pleased with these results, because they confirm our conclusions that Eklipse material outperforms vinyl and fiber cement at an attractive price point,” said Tundra President and CEO Tom Kaiser. “We’re excited to help forward-thinking manufacturers extend a viable new siding option to residential architects, builders and siding contractors.”

About Tundra Companies

Founded in 2004 and based in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Tundra is a materials science company that develops new materials with enhanced performance characteristics for a wide variety of applications. A proprietary coating process uniquely controls the interaction of particles and polymers, resulting in high-value materials that are lighter or heavier, stronger, denser, safer or more flexible.

Tundra equips businesses with differentiating material performance characteristics that can replace existing materials, enable new solutions, open new market opportunities, improve cost efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Tundra offers a variety of material platforms based on its proprietary coating technology, each of which is optimized with performance properties for specific applications and delivered as pelletized material that is ready for use in a variety of manufacturing processes. Those can include injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, compression molding, extruding or 3D printing.

University of Minnesota Partnership Helps Tundra Compete for Top Talent

Senior Design Program mentorship exposes students to real-world challenges while proving to be a strong recruitment tool.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

For more information contact:
Bruce Bohnen, Head of Research & Development
bbohnen@TundraCompanies.com

 

St. Paul, Minn. — Tundra® Companies, a growth-oriented materials science business, knows what it’s like to be David to the Twin Cities’ Goliaths. With the Twin Cities boasting 17 Fortune 500 companies, competing for engineering and technical talent can be tough.

“We’ve always wanted to attract like-minded people ― employees who contribute with talent, drive and curiosity,” explained Tundra CEO Kurt Heikkila. “Our business is about what’s possible when innovative technology and materials combine to produce new product performance capabilities. To be on the cutting-edge with things that haven’t been tried and aren’t yet commercialized, you need to have both a technical and entrepreneurial appetite.”

For the second year, Tundra has committed to a unique program for senior students majoring in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. First started 15 years ago, the Senior Design Program is a semester-long course that allows students to apply what they learn in the lab and classroom toward tackling real-world technical assignments for regional companies, working directly with their staff. Tundra’s commitment to programs such as these has now spanned five projects, mentoring student teams in Industrial Engineering at the Twin Cities campus and Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth in previous years.

Tundra’s Head of Research and Development, Bruce Bohnen, sees these programs as equally beneficial to all parties involved. “We’re in the same room with 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, Valspar and others — talking about our company and our technology,” Bohnen said. “It’s great for emerging talent so see our company alongside these perennially sought-after employers. We also enjoy working directly with a team of students on unique assignments — and I can tell you that the learning often goes both ways.”

This year, Bohnen and his Tundra colleagues designed a Senior Design Program challenge around a highly loaded glass-filled thermoplastic composite material Tundra developed. Eklipse Structural Reinforced Composites have unique application within the building products industry. Due to a very high glass-fiber content, the composites have unique physical properties that are suitable for use in the manufacture of products with high-strength requirements, such as home siding and rigid pipe.

“We’re asking the students to use the known property characteristics of the Eklipse composite to design a cost-effective siding,” Bohnen said. “What’s new for many of them is that they need to focus not only on the technical and performance aspects of their design, but also the economics.”

Since January, a team of four students has been briefed and mentored on the Tundra challenge. At the end of April, the team will give its final presentation with analysis and recommendations to the mentor companies and University professors.

“Our graduating seniors are highly sought after,” explained Professor Russell Holmes, Lead Instructor for the Senior Design Program and Director of Graduate Studies in Materials Studies and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. “We’re very proud of our program and we feel that participating companies like Tundra prepare participants well for what the real work on the job will be like.”

In past years, Tundra student recommendations have produced some remarkable insights. In 2014, a team of six women from the University of Minnesota Duluth tackled a Tundra 3D printing challenge by recommending printer, not material, changes. Their information was shared with the printer manufacturer, and the approach also won them first place in the University’s poster session competition.

“We truly feel fortunate to have met and worked with so many bright students, and our work has extended beyond these programs,” Bohnen said. “We’ve also brought in many University students as summer interns, and since beginning these efforts, nine have become full-time Tundra employees. It has become an invaluable resource for helping us compete with the larger companies for the best talent available.”

About Tundra Companies

Founded in 2004 and based in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Tundra is a materials science company that develops new materials with enhanced performance characteristics for a wide variety of applications. A proprietary coating process uniquely controls the interaction of particles and polymers, resulting in high-value materials that are lighter or heavier, stronger, denser, safer or more flexible.

Tundra equips businesses with differentiating material performance characteristics that can replace existing materials, enable new solutions, open new market opportunities, improve cost efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Tundra offers a variety of material platforms based on its proprietary coating technology, each of which is optimized with performance properties for specific applications and delivered as pelletized material that is ready for use in a variety of manufacturing processes. Those can include injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, compression molding, extruding or 3D printing.

Tundra Resolves Vinyl Home Siding Melting Issues

Develops highly heat-resistant material that is also lightweight, durable and cost-effective.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

For more information contact:
Michael Deaner, Eklipse Product Manager
mdeaner@TundraCompanies.com

 

St. Paul, Minn. — Tundra Companies today announced the introduction of Eklipse™, a fiber-reinforced composite material platform that, when used to manufacture home siding, resolves issues of installed vinyl siding distorting due to exposure to sunlight reflected off fenestration products from nearby homes.

Eklipse materials are produced through Tundra’s proprietary NanoKoat technology, which uniquely processes particles, polymers and coatings to bring out a variety of performance properties while controlling costs. Eklipse materials are delivered in a pelletized form that is ready for extrusion.

“Windows and patio doors have made great energy-efficiency strides, but this has created new heat issues for siding due to reflected sunlight that can produce surface temperatures above 200 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Tundra President and CEO Tom Kaiser. “As a result, there have been widespread reports of standards-compliant vinyl siding failing in the field.”

According to Kaiser, suggested fixes have ranged from a costly vinyl post-chlorination process and redesigning fenestration products to asking builders to install external solar screens, insulating unit “breather tubes,” or planting shrubs or trees to block reflection.

“Our Eklipse material provides a simple and effective solution by bringing a viable alternative material into the conversation,” Kaiser said. “On top of standing up to high heat, Eklipse material produces siding that is lightweight, durable and cost-effective. It can also be manufactured using the same equipment and processes as vinyl.”

To support the heat resistance claim, Tundra filmed the exposure of both vinyl siding and siding made from Eklipse material to the same high direct heat conditions over a one-hour period – the video can be viewed below. The time-lapse footage shows the vinyl siding first deforming at 140˚F and failing near 230˚F. The siding made from Eklipse material remained rigid and performed consistently throughout the one-hour exposure.

 

“This is a real game-changer for home siding and many other applications in building materials and beyond,” said Mike Deaner, Tundra Eklipse Product Manager. “Until vinyl thermal resistance can be improved in a way that also maintains its durability, low weight and value, going with Eklipse material is an easy choice. And the early adopters stand to benefit the most.”

About Tundra Companies

Founded in 2004 and based in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Tundra is a materials science company that develops new materials with enhanced performance characteristics for a wide variety of applications. A proprietary coating process uniquely controls the interaction of particles and polymers, resulting in high-value materials that are lighter or heavier, stronger, denser, safer or more flexible.

Tundra equips businesses with differentiating material performance characteristics that can replace existing materials, enable new solutions, open new market opportunities, improve cost efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Tundra offers a variety of material platforms based on its proprietary coating technology, each of which is optimized with performance properties for specific applications and delivered as pelletized material that is ready for use in a variety of manufacturing processes. Those can include injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, compression molding, extruding or 3D printing.