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Software, teaching and learning aids for training in metal, plastics and wood working

For more than 20 years now, MTS has been developing software for both technical applications  and special CNC shop-floor programming systems, as well as CAD/CAM and CNC simulation systems  for turning and milling machining centers.

The TOPTURN and TOPMILL CNC simulators and TOPCAM, the integrated CAD and NC programming system, are not only used in production, but also in

  • initial vocational training vocational schools and companies,
  • adult further training and retraining in training centers of individual companies and of external training organization serving several companies,
  • the training of technicians and engineers of polytechnical high schools, technical colleges and technical universities.

Didactic concept of the CNC simulators TOPTURN and TOPMILL

Modern CNC technologies require staff training that is innovative and in-step with current technical developments. The most important demands placed on training software are: lt should

  • encourage independent learning and work,
  • be adaptable to different levels of learning,
  • guarantee manufacturer-independent CNC training based on the corresponding DIN/ISO standards, taking into account knowledge on cycles and contour path programming,
  • offer great ease of operation corresponding, as far as possible, to the operation of the machine tools and controls,
  • constitute a system open to integration of any CNC machine tools in to the training concept,
  • provide possible ways of transferring and applying what has been learned to the specific environment of a particular CNC control system

Using these criteria, the didactic concept of MTS CNC simulators can be summarized in one simple single statement:

Working with a CNC simulator should be just like working with a real machine tool.

This involves integrating all preparatory and planning skills into the simulation process, as well as all set-up operations such as determining the workpiece dimensions and its clamping, setting workpiece coordinate origins, selecting tools and assembling tools and, finally, loading of tool turrets and magazines.

Here priority is given to independent, activity-oriented work in all phases of the learning process.

The virtual 3D reality simulation with its 3D collision monitoring, available as an optional software enhancement, is ideal for supporting this type of learning

3D-Demoversion Windows V7.2.1 WIN2000, WINXP
TOPCAD Excerpt from
MTS Teachware


TOPTURN models a lathe which can be optionally equipped with driven milling tools (supplementary axes C, Y and B) and a subspindle for complete machining (supplementary axes Z2, C2).

TOPMILL models a 3-axes vertical milling machining center with contigurable automatic tool changer, in the variants rotational tool magazine and dual-arm gripper or pick-up magazine.

In set-up mode, the CNC simulators have to be set up just like a real machine tool. This process is assisted by tool and clamping device management modules. Moreover, the teacher can assign complete set-up states on specific set-up sheets to particular exercises.

NC programming is done in different shop-floor programming modes. lt is possible to switch over from any of these modes to another while programming in order to suit the task at hand. These modes are:

  • Use of an NC editor
  • Interactive programming
  • Use of a geometry editor
  • Teach-in operation
  • Dialog programming mode

Automatic mode enables simulation  of NC programs either in 2D visualization of workpiece cross-sections or, optionally, in the virtual reality provided by 3D machining area simulation and 3D material removal simulation.

ln the course of simulation, collision detection calculations are carried out, taking into account all components of the machining area.

ln addition, the tool paths can be displayed either for the entire NC program or for individual sections of this.

Quality control can be integrated into the training concept by precisely measuring the dimensions of the virtual workpiece created by turning or milling simulation.

We have developed the SIMSTART software module specially for vocational training school courses. This enables the students to learn the initial system skills and progress to the programming task of the respective curriculum unit quickly.

When operated in a network, the software permits individual management of the trainees.


Dialog programming mode provides easy input of complex machining stages, one or several related input screens being filled in by the user with graphical assistance. The input is checked for validity of combinations, value ranges and alternatives with logical combination functions.

Since the CNC simulator can be adapted to a wide variety of CNC controls and machine tools, this programming option is available for all CNC control systems. Consequently, our software enables an implementation of all methodical concepts for training, independent of specific CNC systems in a neutral ISO/DIN code, as well as for particular CNC systems in all control code languages (lSO/DlN dialects or legible text languages). In particular, it is possible to integrate older C NC controls( such as GE, Allan Bradley, Contur 2, Dialog 4, TNC 151/155, Sinumerik 3T, EPL 1 / 2 or TX8) into the training courses.

Postprocessors convert the NC programs generated by TOPCAM in a neutral ISO format into the NC code format of the target CNC control.

There are two different versions of the TOPCAM postprocessor:

  • configurable ISO command set postprocessor for 2-axes turning and 3-axes milling, and
  • cycle postprocessor that can be adapted to any type of CNC control generating the cycles of the target CNC control

From the drawing to the finished workpart:

TOPCAM - CAD/CAM system for training and production

TOPCAM, the integrated CAD and NC programming system, combines the functions of a fully-fledged 2D CAD system with a comfortable NC programming system for 2½D milling and complete mill-turn machining with driven tools. The CAD system provides powerful functions for creating, editing and documenting technical drawings. For transferring geometry data to and from other CAD systems, DXF standard format is supported.

The NC programming system enables automatic generation of NC programs using contour strings and all common machining cycles. An easy-to-use interactive graphic dialog permits automatic generation of NC programs, not only for conventional machining processes, but also for mill-turn processes using driven tools and sub-spindles (with5 axes each for main spindle and sub-spindle machining).

For woodworking special functions such as progressive tool lowering are also provided.

ISO control system for trainee examinations

In the Federal Republic of Germany, th e topic "generating an NC program" in vocational examinations for chip-cutting machine tool operators is handled using a test ISO control system with the "enter the missing text" or "cloze test" method, the assignments being formulated in a manufacturer-independent ISO programming key, named PAL*. MTS CNC simulators can be configured to this simple programming key, thus also offering supplementary functions such as workpiece dimension measuring, collision checks and 3D visualization.

In the training phase, all programming methods, in particular interactive programming and ISO programming in dialog mode, can be used to supplement the courses. A teacher's program module allows instructors to create their own "cloze test" or "missing-text" assignment programs. lnstructors can refer to a comprehensive collection of exercises.

An NC program column editor and a corresponding postprocessor has been developed for entering "missing text" in ISO column format. The postprocessor converts the NC programs written in ISO command code into the programming key of any desired target CNC control. Cycle commands are converted in to the target CNC control's cycles- if available

In this way, you are able to run the ISO exercise programs on any CNC lathe or milling machine


TOPMILL for machining wood and plastics

Special technologies for CNC wood machining are supported. For instance, the tool management modules permit the use of other tool group designations, as well as providing additional concave and boxhandhole milling tools. Vacuum tables are used instead of magnetic clamping plates.

The MTS transfer program can be used for quick and easy transfer of the specific control programs created with the CNC simulators or TOPCAM postprocessors to any desired CNC control.

PAL: Prufungsaufgaben und Lehrmittelentwicklungsstelle IHK Mittlerer Neckar, Stuttgart

*Programming key

The programming key of a CNC control system (also known as the command coding or control syntax) is defined first to be the set of programming functions according to lSO /DlN that this control system is capable of, including definition of the control-specific deviations from this standard, and second as the control-specific extensions by cycles, contour-programming etc. The term programming key is also used to describe the definition of the contents of a legible text language not based on the ISO/DIN standard.

For more information, please visit this products webpage.

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Grindelallee 188, 20144 Hamburg / Germany
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