Innovation in color precision: BYK-Gardner’s spectro2guide powered by SEGGER tools

Four SEGGER bags with four different shades of blueAs part of our trade show giveaways, we ordered several thousand carrier bags. When they arrived, we immediately noticed that instead of a single shade of blue for all the bags, there were actually three or four different ones.

This is where a spectrophotometer such as BYK-Gardner’s spectro2guide could have come in handy for the producer of the carrier bags. The device accurately measures colors using digital standards. To develop this tool, the German company uses various SEGGER libraries and tools.

BYK-Gardner’s move from in-house to off-the-shelf software from SEGGER

For BYK-Gardner, implementing third-party tools to develop their devices meant a drastic change in their operations, moving away from developing all firmware in-house to using existing, proven software components.

Prior to the integration of SEGGER products, BYK-Gardner’s developers had to divide their time between creating their own basic firmware tools – such as an own proprietary operating system – and developing instrument software such as the spectro2guide. While this practice had the advantage of streamlining all processes in-house, it also consumed a significant amount of time that could have been more efficiently allocated to other tasks.

In 2012, recognizing the need for a different approach, BYK-Gardner made the strategic decision to implement a new hardware and software platform. The plan was to integrate third-party software components, allowing BYK to concentrate more on its core competencies while leaving tasks going beyond that in the hands of a trusted partner.

Through intensive internet research and a meeting at embedded world in Nuremberg, Germany, BYK-Gardner’s search for a reliable solution to meet their needs led them to SEGGER.

How BYK-Gardner harnesses the power of SEGGER tools

BYK Gardner spectro2guideSince choosing SEGGER products, BYK-Gardner has seamlessly integrated a wide range of tools into its operations.

In the development phase, the J-Link ULTRA+ debug probe and the Ozone performance analyzer played a significant role in debugging, ensuring the robustness and reliability of the software. J-Link and Ozone, when used together, create a powerful debugging and analysis solution for embedded applications. J-Link establishes the connection between a computer and the target device, while Ozone provides an intuitive interface for debugging at both source and assembly levels. With compatibility across various toolchains and IDEs, Ozone enables developers to debug applications without access to the source code. This collaborative toolset enhances developers’ capabilities to efficiently identify and resolve issues, ensuring the optimal performance of embedded systems.

On top of this, the real-time software analysis tool SystemView helps developers at BYK analyze real-time critical components, enhancing optimization efforts throughout the development process.

embOS as core for processors powering the spectro2guide

The spectro2guide is powered by three ARM Cortex-M processors from ST. The primary CPU, located on the mainboard, handles primary application functions, GUI interactions, and communication, while a dedicated secondary CPU manages specialized measurement tasks. A third processor in the Cradle further enhances the device’s capabilities.

Product icon embOS, BYK-Gardner uses embOSThe software core for all three processors is the real-time operating system embOS, which enables the structured and deterministic design of any application. The versatile nature of embOS makes the RTOS the manager of any firmware that must handle tasks requiring synchronization, timely responses, multiple tasks or threads at the same time.

In addition, BYK uses SEGGER’s emFile file system for the eMMC memory to organize configuration, system, and measurement files. The file system library enables an embedded application or system to store data securely and reliably on any kind of storage device.

A separate file system on a dedicated FRAM handles logging requirements, using a ring buffer for continuous log file creation. Memory access via USB, facilitated by MTP, is also available for internal purposes such as production and development.

Product icon emUSB-DeviceThe communication framework of the spectro2guide is also supported by SEGGER tools. Here, the bulk component of emUSB-Device, SEGGER’s high-performance USB device software, facilitates seamless communication between the application software and the device. In this process, BYK-Gardner utilizes its proprietary USB driver, certified by SEGGER at Microsoft. This interface enables the exchange of configurations and measurement data, with USB device driver support for both Windows and Linux environments. For wireless communication, emNet with Wi-Fi support enables the use of platform-independent client software.

SEGGER components empowering user experience in spectro2guide

The graphical touch display of the spectro2guide relies on the emWin embedded graphics library. emWin enables the creation of highly efficient GUIs on any embedded system, empowering even resource-constrained microcontroller-based systems to run high-quality interactive user interfaces. The integration of modern graphical user interfaces (GUI) and communication capabilities has opened up new possibilities and enhanced the overall user experience of the spectro2guide, resulting in consistently positive customer feedback and new customers for BYK-Gardner.

With J-Link and J-Flash ensuring a seamless transition from development to mass production, it shows that SEGGER’s tools are deeply involved in all the steps required to develop and bring the spectro2guide to market.

A fruitful partnership for both SEGGER and BYK

Looking ahead, BYK-Gardner’s R&D team are confident that the partnership with SEGGER will continue to be mutually beneficial, as they have actively contributed to the development by providing SEGGER with suggestions for new features and bug reports on several occasions.

Group of laughing people sitting around a table“We couldn’t be happier to have integrated several SEGGER tools into our processes, as they have helped us free up a lot of time to focus on our core competencies,” says Stefan Wltschek, Head of the Embedded Systems department at BYK-Gardner. “SEGGER’s professional support team has always been available to address any questions or concerns we may have and has helped us successfully implement their products and provide support whenever needed. We would highly recommend using these tools due to SEGGER’s complete pricing transparency, the ability to fully evaluate components in advance through direct downloads from their website, and the excellent documentation provided with the products.”

Conclusion: BYK-Gardner’s focus on innovation

For BYK-Gardner, integrating SEGGER tools was not just a technological update; it represented a pragmatic shift in operations. By relying on existing, proven software components, the company found an efficient approach to streamline their development process, allowing them to maintain a continuous focus on developing their proprietary tools.

The successful collaboration between BYK-Gardner and SEGGER demonstrates the benefits of using third-party tools that enable companies to focus on innovation and excellence in their respective fields.

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About BYK-Gardner

BYK is a leading provider of testing and measurement instruments for quality control of color, gloss, and physical properties. Particularly in multi-component products with different suppliers, color and gloss harmony is an essential quality feature. BYK-Gardner focuses on paint manufacturers and their users, as well as the plastics processing industry. A key market is the automotive industry and its suppliers. BYK Instruments is known for highly precise and reliable testing equipment that is also easy to use and digitizes quality control. Innovative and differentiated solutions optimize the product and material properties of our customers. Find more information on