Based out of Nashville, TN., Targetbotics, LLC designs, builds, and installs control systems for law enforcement and military firing ranges. These targets include turning targets, steel popups, and moving targets traveling on rails. The control systems are designed with industrial microprocessor-based components to avoid the use of traditional computers on site. US and Canadian clients include military special forces and special ops units, civilian training academies, and numerous law enforcement facilities.

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.

Client Requirements

  • 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. Key features of Maple's OIT3185 included:

  • Backlit LCD display
  • Membrane-style keypad (24 programmable keys with custom slide-in legend)
  • Class I, Division 2 rated for harsh environments
  • 1 x RJ45 shielded RS232/422/485

Needless to say, Maple's OIT3185 met the approval of the client. Targetbotics used Maple's STEPware software to set the OIT up on an ASCII interface and proceeded with installation. The first installation occurred back in 2009. Maple's OIT3185 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 OIT3185. There are currently twenty-five OIT3185s in use at that location and the client reports that the benefits are ample.

Targetbotics continues to use Maple's OIT3185 as their first-choice control solution. However, they appreciate that Maple Systems offers a variety of OITs (8 models) in the event that a custom requirement emerges as a result of 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 (commercial off the shelf). In a recent system replacement, the Maple Systems OIT3175, a COTS item, was used in a COTS enclosure to replace a proprietary keypad that had been discontinued and was no longer available. The OIT3175 controller (shown to the left), with a backlit LCD display, 16 programmable keys, membrane keypad, and custom slide-in legend brought much relief regarding the replacement of the previous unit with its ease of install and comparable features.

Built Tough

To show just how tough Maple Systems OIT3185s 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 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.

Ongoing Business Partnership

Quitman has been so impressed with Maple's OIT controllers over the years that as Targetbotics continued to thrive and develop new products, Quitman 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.

See the UnPredictor in action:

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.

Additional Resources

How can your organization benefit from Maple's OIT solutions?


Targetbotics Case Study (PDF)

UnPredictor Videos

Why Choose Maple OITs