Title
A Shooting Target Control System
FPGA Technology Reduces Product Costs and Increases Flexibility
Technologies used

    FPGA

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Machinery
    31 Electrical
    333 Industrial Process Control
Abstract

Militec Ltd designs and manufactures target equipment for rifle and pistol ranges for both national and international customers such as the police, Special Forces, military, recreation and sports users. Militec's turnover is about 350 KECU, and the company employs 4 people, including one electronics engineer and one electronics technician.

The existing system's electronic circuitry utilised discrete components, resulting in three circuit boards inter-linked in order to fit within the size constraints of the enclosure, thus making the unit expensive to manufacture and to modify to individual customers requirements.

The aim of the experiment was to improve the existing Turning Target and Pop-up target products by introducing FPGA technology to replace the bulk of the existing electronics and enhance its capabilities. Both of the products utilise the same circuitry, except for a few small logic modifications. The objectives of this experiment were to improve the existing products, and to ensure that knowledge was transferred to the company in the following areas; technical management, top-down design methodologies (including VHDL, digital simulation and synthesis), selection of FPGAs, test techniques, and modern CAD tools for digital design.
Meeting these objectives has enabled the company to utilise this flexible technology not only for the products involved in the AE, but also for future products, providing a means of competing more strongly in the market place. In fact work has already started on other products utilising the knowledge gained through the application experiment. Improvements achieved include:

  • Large reductions in the component count, number of PCBs, PCB area and power consumption.
  • Cost savings in labour, manufacturing and test of up to 31%.
  • More reliable and versatile products.
  • Economic benefits allowing larger sales to be achieved and new markets to be exploited.
  • Feature improvements
    • Improved display, making the unit more user friendly.
    • Adding more programmable target reactions.
    • Flexibility to use various data formats.
    • Generation of a 'trigger out' signal after programmed target action and present number of hits sensed.
    • Self-checking diagnostics
  • Single board stocked for most products.
  • Increased commercial security.

The prototype development costs of 48 KECU which were entirely funded by the FUSE programme will improve company sales, resulting in a payback period of 8 months and a ROI of 882% over the 6 year design life of the product.


The duration of the application experiment was 7 months. The application experiment took approximately 1 month longer than envisaged to complete because of RF interference effects in the RF communications system. Fortunately the re-programmable nature of the FPGA device allowed improved digital protocols to be implemented to solve the problem. This flexibility demonstrated the significant technical benefits achieved by adopting FPGA device technology.

Company

    Militec Ltd
    Unit 16
    Cwm Cynon Business Centre
    Mountain Ash
    Mid Glamorgan
    United Kingdom.


Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA technology provided Militec Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.


Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom