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Automated import/export involving various data formats

17 February 2014: Stephan Sprink

AQDEF established a standard

The AQDEF (Advanced Quality Data Exchange Format) data format has set a standard for the recording and exchange of quality information across systems. This format has its origin in the Q-DAS ASCII transfer format already established in the automotive industry for a long time. Many company guidelines demand the application of this format from suppliers of measuring equipment. Due to good results, we have created various company-specific and plant-specific individual solutions for this data interface over the years whose concepts are quite similar. However, their characteristics and features differ in each individual case. This additional effort caused by special configurations always has a negative impact on costs.

However, some users of the data interface working in the automotive and automotive supplier industry founded a working group to establish a universal standard. They started to create uniform specifications. Since the number of AQDEF users continued to increase even outside the automotive industry, the data format became a crossindustry interface standard. Employees of renowned companies operating in different industries joined the working group to evaluate and develop AQDEF continuously. Leading manufacturers of measuring instruments support this format and Q-DAS even offers data format certification. Certification is also part of the requirements specified in the AQDEF manual. It provides safety and creates confidence in the transfer of data.

What if AQDEF is not feasible?

There are, however, certain situations in different customer projects that do not allow for the support of the AQDEF data format for obvious reasons. Some companies apply older systems requiring a comprehensive upgrade to support the interface. Such an upgrade causes considerable costs for the customer, either through license costs, the time needed for the adaptation of measuring programs or the effort needed to write information (data fields) that are not (cannot be) provided by the recording system.

Our customers use established recording types to collect data but they also provide their data in various Excel, *.csv or *.txt formats or apply their own test systems to write their data in an individual SQL database. All these data are relevant and must be considered in evaluations.

The Q-DAS Converter is thus a cost-efficient solution enabling users to evaluate their data with the help of Q-DAS products. Due to the Converter, you may transfer various formats to the Q-DAS world – a respective feasibility study provided. You may even transfer more information than mere file contents to the Q-DAS environment; you can even consider specific storage information of the files (e.g. a certain directory structure to which the file was saved based on organization units, product lines, order number, etc.). Additionally, you can indicate missing information of the data set by entering default parameters; these parameters will facilitate the selection and evaluation of data in Q-DAS products. You can even apply this approach to data already available in the Q-DAS data format but with important information missing, i.e. some selection and evaluation criteria. These individual settings are stored in a configuration file (*.pas) and maintained by Q-DAS for a smooth conversion in case of updates / upgrades. There are currently more than 120 different configurations of the Q-DAS Converter available to provide individual solutions based on the Q-DAS standard products...

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