Tuesday, October 23, 2007



Bob Ashley
RV Business
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Elkhart, Ind.-based RV and marine supplier TekModo LLC recently announced the introduction of a colorable sidewall material that is highly dent resistant and “designed to replace laminated fiberglass,” according to one of the company's co-founders.

“It will be one-piece and it is colorable, including metallic finishes, and it is highly impact resistant,” said Mary Wetzel, TekModo co-managing partner. “You can take a baseball bat to it without it cracking.”

The new product – called SpectraLite – is designed to be used in combination with TekModo's CosmoLite base, a fiber-reinforced thermoplastic material the company has offered for the last year as lightweight, water-resistant RV flooring. The color infusion was developed with technical support from DuPont Co., Wilmington, Del., using DuPont's Surlyn resin – a colorless material used on the covers of golf balls – as a key component.

“Not many materials can withstand continued high impact events like a golf ball strike,” said Marc LaCounte, another TekModo co-managing partner. “Surlyn is a natural fit for protecting an RV sidewall surface.”

An added benefit is that the technology does not involve products using formaldehyde, which has become an RV industry concern, according Wetzel, a former Chrysler executive.

Available in 9-foot coiled widths, SpectraLite will be laminated to the lightweight CosmoLite substructure and offered as a coiled product beginning in the second quarter of 2008 at a cost competitive with laminated fiberglass, according to LaCounte. “SpectraLite looks like a new automotive finish, and it can be had on any towable or motorhome," he said.

Four Winds International, Elkhart, Ind., along with Pilgrim International Inc., and Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Co. LLC, both of Middlebury, Ind., are working with TekModo to develop RV applications for SpectraLite.

“Our goal is to replace fiberglass, luan, wood and aluminum in our units with composites,” confirmed C. Dave Hoefer, Pilgrim chairman. “(SpectraLite) will take an extreme amount of weight out. It's seamless and there is zero memory to it when it lays out."

Flooring made from TekModo's CosmoLite will “be standard immediately” in the Pilgrim Lite 1500 series, Hoefer said.

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