Project Scope

In 2008, while preparing a firing range design for a special operations training facility at Ft. Bragg, NC, a client requested a non-touchscreen control solution. The client was particular about this requirement since their operators typically wore gloves during operation. In addition, the control system required would be permanently mounted outdoors, possibly with no overhead protection, meaning exposure to the weather and all its unforgiving elements was likely. In addition, the Targetbotics design called for a single RS-232 interface with the human interface device.

The client requirements were:

  • Non-touchscreen control system
  • Push-button (ability to operate with gloves on)
  • Weather-proof (permanently mounted outdoors)
  • RS-232 interface

The Solution

The search for this multifaceted interface led Targetbotics to Maple Systems OIT3185-A00. Key features of Maple’s OIT3185-A00 included:

  • Backlit LCD display
  • Membrane-style keypad (24 programmable keys with custom slide-in legend)
  • Class I, Division 2 rated for harsh environments
  • Extended temperature operation
  • 1 x RJ-45 shielded RS232/422/485 port

Needless to say, Maple System’s OIT3185-A00 met the approval of the client. Targetbotics used Maple Systems’ free configuration software to set the OIT up on an ASCII interface and proceeded with installation. The first installation occurred back in 2009. Maple’s OIT3185-A00 is still in use and operating well under all weather conditions at the same gun range today.

More of a Good Thing

Based on the success of the 2009 installation, Targetbotics designed and installed control systems for seven more ranges at the same facility with most of the systems using more than one OIT. There are currently twenty-five OITs in use at that location and the client reports that the benefits are ample.

Targetbotics continues to use this Maple Systems OIT model as their first-choice control solution. However, they appreciate that Maple Systems offers a variety of OITs (8 models in total) in the event that a new customer requirement emerges on a new or previously completed project. One of Targetbotics’ design standards is that there is to be no use of proprietary circuits or components. Everything used must be COTS (comprised of Commercial, Off-The-Shelf components). In a recent system replacement, the Maple Systems OIT3175-A00, a COTS device, was used in a COTS enclosure to replace a proprietary keypad that had been discontinued and was no longer available. The OIT3175-A00 controller (shown to the left), with a backlit LCD display, 16 programmable keys, a membrane keypad, and a custom slide-in legend brought much relief regarding the replacement of the previous unit. It was easy to install and met all the feature requirements.

Built Tough

To show just how tough Maple Systems OITs are, Quitman Dennis, owner of Targetbotics, held a demonstration for a range located right on the ocean. The location meant that exposure to moisture was constant and had negatively impacted past (non-Maple) keypads.

For the demonstration, Quitman mounted the OIT3185-A00 in a small NEMA 4 enclosure and wired it up so that it would tick off numbers on the OIT. He then placed it in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket of water for a week. The OIT worked perfectly, just as planned.

Quitman has been so impressed with Maple’s OIT controllers over the years that as Targetbotics has continued to thrive and develop new products, Quitman has consistently elected to incorporate Maple solutions into every design possible.

Recently, Targetbotics developed a proprietary firearms training system which incorporates unpredictability in the various activities. Known as the UnPredictor, it also uses Maple’s OIT3185.

As both Maple Systems and Targetbotics continue to flourish, both honor the same commitment in providing exceptional products which stand the test of time. Maple Systems is proud to have provided Targetbotics with many durable, quality, long-lasting control solutions over the last decade and will continue to do so.

Our Value Promise

Long renowned in the Industrial Automation industry for the quality of technical support we have provided for decades, Maple Systems has a reputation for connecting customers with someone who knows our products inside and out. Whether it is one of our trusted System Integrator partners, Distributors, or our own engineering team, we are happy to connect you with a knowledgeable engineer dedicated to understanding your application.

Supported Products

Maple Systems Alphanumeric OITs are powerful, affordable operator interface terminals. Our units offer best-in-class features including 2 and 4-line LCD and VFD Displays,16 and 24-key keypads, unique user-definable keypads, and slide-in legends. With the ability to communicate with more than 100 brands of PLCs such as Emerson, GE, Koyo, Mitsubishi, Schneider, and many more; motion controllers, temperature controllers, and embedded microcontrollers, you can easily create the perfect operator interface terminal for your application.

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