FTP server integration in the factory


Which connectors does i-flow support?

An FTP server (File Transfer Protocol server) is a server that uses the File Transfer Protocol to transfer files and data between a client and the server. FTP enables the uploading and downloading of files and the management of file structures.

SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is a secure extension of conventional FTP that uses encryption and authentication to protect data exchange. SFTP offers a higher level of security and data protection compared to traditional FTP and is therefore particularly widespread in security-critical applications.


The advantages in the factory

Communication via FTP servers can be useful, especially if file formats are necessary for the exchange of information or can be realized more economically. The advantages of (S)FTP are:

  1. Security: SFTP uses encryption technologies to protect data during transmission. This ensures that confidential information, such as production data and quality reports, is transferred securely between different systems or locations.
  2. Authentication: SFTP requires authentication to ensure that only authorized users and systems can access the server. This prevents unauthorized access to sensitive production data.
  3. Integrity: SFTP checks the data integrity during transfer and ensures that the transferred files arrive unchanged and error-free. This is particularly important in production-critical environments where data consistency is crucial.
  4. Logging: SFTP servers log all transactions, which makes it possible to monitor and track data exchange. This is crucial for meeting compliance requirements and identifying errors.
  5. Flexibility: SFTP supports a variety of file formats and can be integrated into different platforms and systems. This facilitates the integration of production machines and interaction with various software applications.


Use cases in the factory

In production environments, FTP servers are often used to transfer production data, reports, logs and other files between systems or locations. Other examples are:

  1. Exchange of machine logs to analyze machine downtimes or calculate KPIs (e.g. OEE)
  2. Exchange of information with supply chain partners and suppliers (e.g. PLC programs)
  3. Exchange of information between ERP and production (e.g. transfer via csv file via UC4 Jobs in SAP)


i-flow and FTP server

i-flow performs several functions in combination with FTP servers. While FTP provides the exchange server, i-flow determines which FTP server receives and distributes which data (route control). This enables the implementation of business logic and rules for data exchange. If necessary, system protocols and data structures of source and target systems are translated in i-flow depending on the requirements and use case. This ensures that data is transferred correctly and seamlessly between the systems.

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