Lightweight Structures, LLC
4615 Vettelson Road, Hartland
Industry: Building product manufacturer
Innovation: FORTECO lightweight composite building system
Jim Jendusa, the founder of Hartland-based Lightweight Structures LLC, developed a lightweight composite material called FORTECO to replace the industry standards for framing floors and walls.
FORTECO uses a light gauge, galvanized, steel framework filled with insulation and a few inches of concrete to create a strong, lightweight system allowing for easy installation and resource savings.
A standard floor system uses more than 10 inches of concrete. A FORTECO frame uses less than half the amount of concrete, while providing a floor that is just as stable as a standard floor system.
Jendusa developed FORTECO as a solution for easier installation of in-floor heat tubing, common in residential properties.
“Creativity is necessary to solve a problem. You must identify the problem and then think of different ways to solve it,” said Jendusa, “The problem was there was no good way to install in-floor heat in concrete floors. Once solutions arise, it comes to the process of refining it.”
The FORTECO panels are arranged back-to-back and the steel stubs at the center of each allow them to snap together while the concrete poured on top bonds the pieces into one unit.
A poured concrete floor would take a week for completion, a FORTECO floor takes as little as a day to set.
A planning grant from the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce allowed Jendusa to launch his business plan in 2008. Lightweight Structures installed their first project later that year and five more projects were completed in 2010.