Keyboard manufacturer Cherry Electrical Products (Pleasant Prairie, WI) has met a tire center chain's need for a more compact keyboard to accommodate smaller cash drawers at the stores. Cherry has sold 2,500 units of the G81-7000 model to the tire center. In 1996, the company sold 10,000 units of an earlier keyboard model to the retailer. At that time, the retailer was upgrading its POS (point of sale) system and wanted a keyboard that would withstand the harsh environment of a tire store. In addition, the customer wanted standard alphanumeric key entry, custom legends, an integrated touch pad, and a durable mag-stripe reader. The customer also requested that the solution meet the stringent Mil (military) specifications for dust and liquid protection.
Cherry sold the tire store a customized version of its G80-3180 keyboard in 1996. The solution had the standard 104-key layout, but with custom legends and scan codes. It also had a two-track MSR (magnetic swipe reader) and touch pad. In order to address the Mil specification requirement, Cherry designed a splash-guard foil that went under the key caps and over the key matrix. The entire matrix board, including the mechanical key switches, was sealed by an ultra-thin synthetic foil that ensured durability and elasticity for the key switches. A POS system integrator installed the system.
In 2001, the tire store approached Cherry to resume production of the custom product, but with a smaller footprint to accommodate its smaller cash drawers. The G80-3180 had been replaced with the next generation, the G81-7000, and the challenge was to quickly emulate the custom design with the new model in a more compact size. The length of the new keyboard is 15.9 inches, compared with the typical length of 18.5 inches. The new keyboard was re-quoted and tested within weeks. The tire store adopted the next-generation product and has purchased 2,500 of the keyboards since 2001.