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The Global Leader in Shooting Range Development • Equipment • Services™

Pneumatic Target Systems

January 27, 2011

What is a Pneumatic Target System?

Being in the business of providing world-class target systems, Action Target has numerous options to choose from. When you work with a member of our staff, they will help you design and build the best target solution to meet your training needs.  A staple among our diverse line of target systems are those that are pneumatically operated.

Action Target’s pneumatic target line is designed to be a modular, component system. This means that there are many different building blocks to choose from. By putting the pieces together in different ways, you can build a system large or small, simple or complex. Everything is based on your individual needs.

In order to design your own custom system, you must first understand how the different building blocks fit together – the main power source (air pressure) flows from the air supply, through the controller, and on to the actuator.

What Is An Air Source?

With the exception of the AT Runner and “PT” products, Action Target actuators use air pressure as the driving force required to operate the target itself. Air is a clean and simple source of power which is very reliable and easy to use.

If you are designing a portable system, you will probably want of use compressed CO2 tanks as your air source. In this case, you will want to order an REG-1 from Action Target. This is a pressure regulator that converts high pressure from the tank (about 750 psi), to the lower pressure used by tour target components (40-100 psi).

More permanent applications benefit greatly from the use of an air compressor that runs on regular AC power. It doesn’t take a very large compressor to operate even the most specialized and involved ranges effectively. For most fairly large applications, a two horsepower compressor will provide more than enough capacity to meet your needs. Compressors can be ordered through Action Target, or obtained through any local vendor you desire. If you have questions about the suitability of a particular air compressor, feel free to contact an Action Target salesperson.

What Is An Actuator?

The actuator is the part of the system that you shoot at, or moves the target you shoot at. Some Action Target actuators move a cardboard or paper target into view on command. Others move a steel plate up and down. Others may simply reset a target you have already knocked down. The thing they all have in common is the compressed air they all use to do the work.

Each actuator has been designed with particular types of training in mind. Some work better in portable applications, while others are designed for more permanent use. Some actuators are designed for reaction training, while others are better suited to precision training. Read through the descriptions of each of the Action Target actuators and decide which ones will best perform the tasks you require for your own training needs.

What Is A Controller?

Every target system has to have an operator. Someone has to press a button, step on a board, shoot down a plate, or open a door to make a target function. Controllers are the devices that form the link between a human operator and the rest of the system.

The ultimate function of a controller is to switch the air pressure on or off at the command of the operator. There is a wide range of Action Target controllers that serve this function, from simple push-button air switches to sophisticated computer controlled systems. Controllers can be hard-wired to the rest of the system, or you can use a radio controlled device to give you even more flexibility. It all depends on your individual training needs.

Which Components Are Compatible With Each Other?

In order to help you understand how the different parts of a system fit together, “Function Codes” have been assigned to each of the various components. By understanding how the Function Codes work, you can easily determine how to put the proper components together into a system.

With all Function Codes, the first letter represents an input, and the second letter represents an output or action. For example, the VERSATARGET actuator uses the Function Code “A-T.” The “A” means the unit’s input is Air, and the “T” means the output or ultimate action is to move the Target. So, by seeing the code A-T used with the VERSATARGET, you know that it is a device that uses air pressure to move a target.

As another example, the HS-1 hand switch controller has the Function Code “C-A.” The “C” means the unit receives a Control signal at its input, and releases Air as its output. The Control signal in this case would simply be the operator pushing the button on the HS-1.

If you lay your system out on paper with the operator on the left and the targets on the right, you can easily use the Function Codes to make sure you have connected compatible parts together.

Controllers With Multiple Parts

Often, the part of the system referred to as the controller actually consists of more than one component. A good example of this is the combination of the PRO-INT shot timer and the TI-1 timer interface. The shot timer is a device that can be “set” much like an alarm clock to go off at a certain time. During the time before it goes off, it outputs a 12 volt signal down a wire. Because the input of the PRO-INT is a Control signal from a human operator, and its output is an Electrical signal, its Function Code is “C-E.”

The TI-1 timer interface has a Function Code of “E-A.” This means that it receives an Electrical signal at its input, and sends Air pressure from its output. By connecting a PRO-INT (C-E) to the TI-1 timer interface (E-A), you have created a two-piece controller with an ultimate Function Code of “C-A”, just like the HS-1 hand switch described earlier.

If you have any questions about setting your range equipment, please feel free to contact the Action Target Representative for your area.

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