Outsourcing Engineering to TriMech Improves Time to Market for Spectra Gutter Systems Products

With more than 30 locations across the United States, Spectra Gutter Systems is the largest manufacturer and distributor of water protection products such as gutters and guards, downspouts, metal roofing, and trim coil. It is a family-owned business, now recognized for more than 40 years of leadership in the rainware industry.

This case study will look into the success Spectra Gutter Systems has found through outsourcing engineering to TriMech’s Project Engineering Group (PEG).

TriMech provides SOLIDWORKS expertise and 3D-printed prototypes

Product Development Manager Jeff Smith brought his industry experience to Spectra Gutter Systems in late 2022 and since then has been focused on creating new products for both the wholesale and retail markets. To help him move efficiently from concept to completion, he relies on TriMech’s Project Engineering Group (PEG) and Advanced Manufacturing Services (AMS).

Outsourcing Engineering Spectra Gutter

Spectra Gutter System

By outsourcing engineering to PEG, clients gain access to a wider team with a variety of design and engineering skillsets – mechanical and electrical design, automation, 3D laser scanning – whatever they need to move their projects along.

Design collaboration

For Jeff, the TriMech team serves as his engineering department. He explained that TriMech has done a great job of turning his ideas into well designed 3D models. They communicate back and forth to tweak the dimensions or the look of the product.

“I have been in product development pretty much my whole career, but I haven’t developed advanced skills in software like SOLIDWORKS. I prefer it this way – I have the ideas, then sketch out some two-dimensional concepts. Once I get them from my brain onto paper, I pass them on to TriMech.”

Outsourcing engineering for quick turnaround

Jeff discussed the fall 2023 launch of Spectra’s “TriFlex by Ground Spout,” a downspout extension that funnels water from the roof into three smaller, flexible pipes, diverting water away from the foundation in directions you choose. It connects to the downspout and additional extensions and fits all downspouts.

“Well, first off, that was probably the quickest turnaround I’ve ever seen, in terms of getting an idea to market,” Jeff said. “I give TriMech a lot of credit in helping me achieve that.”

He noted that the product has a lot of unique features and some complex geometry, with shape and profile variations, as well as a threaded design that allows the pieces to connect.

“I had the vision, but needed TriMech to get it into SOLIDWORKS and work closely with me on various iterations.”

Jeff worked primarily with TriMech project engineer Will Irvin, who he noted is very responsive.

“Sometimes I feel like Will works for me, to be honest. That’s a compliment, me feeling like he is part of my team. Only very rarely has he said he is the middle of another project and can’t get to mine right away. And if he has had to say that, or he’s on vacation, he offers up other people to step in. He has a whole team behind him.”

Easy access to 3D-printed prototypes

Jeff also takes advantage of TriMech’s expertise in additive manufacturing. Spectra Gutter Systems does not have in-house 3D printing capabilities, yet Jeff always needs prototypes to test fit and function and for show and tell with colleagues or customers.

spectra9 1

“3D-printed prototypes are a crucial element because it’s always important to touch and feel a product, rather than just looking at a SOLIDWORKS model. And because I present a lot of products to the big box retail market, I can easily show off the prototypes to customers.”

He added that with the TriFlex, different vendors are making different parts, and the prototypes gave him the confidence he needed before cutting metal for tooling.

A team approach

When Jeff is happy with a product design, he shows it to his injection molding vendor, who can then optimize it for manufacturing.

“I brought my manufacturer into discussions with a few people from TriMech,” Jeff said. “We all collaborated to move the project along. It was so helpful to connect my vendors this way.”

Opportunities for growth

Jeff said that Spectra is a large company with the feel of a small business, and that the owners invest heavily in growth. In his creative role, he particularly appreciates that company leadership gets behind his ideas and invests in R&D, including assistance from TriMech.

“It’s important for me and for Spectra, to have the support to take my ideas from my mind to a finished product on the retail shelf.”

Jeff expects to have future opportunities to point out TriMech’s services across other areas of the business.

“I remember when it was time to invest in my initial block of engineering hours. I wasn’t sure how many to contract, or if I would even need them all over the proposed term. Here we are just over a year later, and I’ve added hours several times. We have developed a trusted relationship in a short time, and I’m happy to introduce TriMech to others in my company.”

Spectra is online at spectraguttersystems.com

Ready to streamline your product development process?

With TriMech’s SOLIDWORKS expertise and rapid prototyping capabilities, bring your ideas to life faster than ever before. Whether you need design collaboration, quick turnaround on prototypes, or access to simulation tools, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today to learn how TriMech can help you innovate and grow your business.

Karen Majerly

Karen Majerly

Karen Majerly is a communications specialist who helps remarkable people tell rich stories. She has been working with the TriMech Group of companies since 2013.
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