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Interesting facts about interfaces

29 June 2018: Stefan Weber

Clearly defined interfaces are essential for a smooth transfer of data. Looking back on more than 27 years of company history, Q-DAS has assigned a high priority to the simple connection of measuring instruments and the data transfer with other systems almost right from the start. Q-DAS experts answer important questions about interfaces in the following article.

Why are the connection of measuring instruments and the data transfer of crucial importance in recording measured values?

You have to face various systems recording or processing quality data in industrial production. It is necessary to collect all local data and information in a central data pool in order to have a comprehensive overview of process and product quality. You can, however, only establish central data storage in a reasonable way by applying flexible interface standards. These standards are able to connect a multitude of data sources reliably and easily.

Which other objectives besides flexibility and reliability do data interfaces pursue?

A main objective is data quality with regard to its structure and content. Data quality ensures that all relevant information for significant evaluations is available, i.e. the quality of data has a direct impact on the decision quality with respect to process and sequence control. If you cannot gain any beneficial information from the data, you will not be able to answer key questions e.g. about process optimization or the reduction of non-conformity costs.

How can we reach these objectives?

In the end, we can only reach this objective by applying standards. Q-DAS came to realize this fact quite early and thus developed and offered a file format for the data exchange of quality information in industrial production. This Q-DAS ASCII transfer format quickly became accepted in the automotive industry, especially because of its simplicity and clear structure. Many suppliers of measuring systems demand the application of this format today. The AQDEF data format (advanced quality exchange format) specified by an industrial work group is also based on this format.

What are the main characteristics of AQDEF making it some kind of an industry standard?

AQDEF combines the technical and content-related aspects of exchanging and transferring quality data. The correct notation of the format is a basic requirement in order to collect data from various data sources in a data pool and to evaluate them all together. However, the correct notation does not ensure that all systems provide all available and required data and deliver the contents leading to the desired gain of knowledge. It is not enough to record the measurement result since additional data, such as machine, cavity or serial number, are also important to evaluate data based on such criteria. Only these evaluations create added value and the full potential of statistical evaluations contributes to an increase in efficiency. AQDEF accommodates all these aspects by specifying data fields that must be supported or that can be activated if required. The work group thus succeeded in defining a cross-industry interface standard covering most applications. Most manufacturers of measuring instruments support this standard.

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