Briggs & Stratton

Briggs & Stratton, a renowned global leader headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has always been synonymous with innovation. As the world’s largest producer of engines for outdoor power equipment and a prominent figure in diverse power solutions, their commitment to engineering excellence and high-quality products has stood the test for over a century. However, even a company with a rich legacy faces challenges, especially in the ever-evolving world of electrification.

The electrification challenge

One such challenge emerged when Briggs & Stratton embarked on expanding their electrification portfolio. To support their cutting-edge battery pack design, the necessity for a secure bootloader became apparent. The options for achieving this goal were manifold, but one fact remained constant – an internal bootloader development path would be a time- consuming journey, estimated at nine months to a year. The quest was to find a solution that would strike the perfect balance between efficiency, cost- effectiveness, and maintaining the highest level of product security.

Rick Ryer, Embedded Software Architect, and his team at Briggs & Stratton were tasked not just to develop a bootloader, but to do so swiftly and without incurring substantial additional costs. The solution had to ensure product safety, maintain a swift time-to-market, and bypass the intricacies of in-house development. Initially, the team considered the traditional route of internal bootloader development.


However, when they discovered IAR’s Embedded Trust solution, their project took an innovative turn. This comprehensive solution not only aligned with their initial bootloader requirements but also offered the added flexibility to swiftly port the system to a new MCU in a matter of minutes.

Smooth implementation

With the guidance of IAR Embedded Trust’s configuration wizard, Briggs & Stratton swiftly implemented the Secure Boot Manager (SBM) solution. The swift process took only a few days, enabling them to initiate field updates with remarkable speed and enhance their firmware distribution process. Leveraging the SBM’s capabilities, they quickly established group ID keys, allowing precise targeting of firmware updates for specific customer groups and hardware configurations.


"The biggest surprise was that it
was so simple.”


Mr. Ryer, pleased with the outcome, concluded, “The biggest surprise was that it was so simple.” The newfound ability to implement unique individual firmware updates and use group ID keys brought unexpected value to their program, essentially providing this valuable functionality at no extra cost.


Furthermore, Mr. Ryer emphasized the significance of having access to the full source code. This feature allowed them to customize IAR Embedded Trust to fit their exact needs while ensuring long-term control over their design.


Throughout the implementation process, Briggs & Stratton received comprehensive training and support from the IAR team. “With IAR’s best-in-class support, implementation was simple and straightforward,” Mr. Ryer acknowledged. This support ensured a seamless transition and the efficient operation of the SBM solution.


Remarkable results

Following the seamless integration, Briggs & Stratton saved an estimated 12 to 18 months of extensive internal development and testing efforts.


The ability to update, optimize, and automate the firmware update process in fielded products became a reality within days. Mr. Ryer emphasized, “ It was a huge win to be able to deliver for the organization. That would not have happened without the SBM.” IAR Embedded Trust streamlined the process, ensuring each product received the appropriate firmware update based on its specific requirements.


Utilizing Group ID keys, Briggs & Stratton achieved improved organization and management of firmware, even in the face of rapidly changing and frequently incompatible hardware configurations. Mr. Ryer noted, “It has gotten to the point where firmware updates are no big deal.” Moreover, the flexibility to port the security configuration to a new device easily proved invaluable, especially during ongoing supply shortages for chips. Briggs & Stratton avoided a complex porting exercise by using the security context configuration wizard to generate an SBM specific to their new MCU. This, in Mr. Ryer’s words, was “a piece of cake” and reduced the risk of future product revisions and projects.


“It has gotten to the point
where firmware updates are
no big deal.”


A cost-effective solution

In conclusion, Mr. Ryer encapsulated their experience: “The cost for just the bootloader made sense. Then, we get all this other stuff on top of it that lets us do all kinds of really cool security stuff. I mean, then it just became kind of a no-brainer.”


“I mean, then it just became
kind of a no-brainer.”


With IAR’s Embedded Trust, Briggs & Stratton seamlessly implemented a comprehensive security solution for their strategic hardware platform, exceeding their initial requirements while streamlining processes for future designs and projects. The ease and simplicity of configuration and implementation allowed them to achieve their objectives with remarkable cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Additionally, the portability of the solution and access to the full source code reduced overall risks and provided the team with confidence in long-term control and added flexibility for future projects. IAR Embedded Trust’s additional features empowered the Briggs & Stratton team to not only meet but exceed their initial goals.