CSV stands for “Comma-Separated Values” (values separated by commas). This is a simple file format for saving data in tabular form. This means that data is arranged in rows and columns, whereby the columns are separated by a separator (e.g. a comma). Each line in a file usually corresponds to a data record, whereby the values for various properties or fields are divided into columns.
Why are CSV files used in the factory?
The use of CSV has several advantages:
- Simplicity: The file format is easy to create, read and edit. This makes them a popular choice for data exchange, especially in environments where ease of use and speed are important.
- Platform independence: CSV is platform-independent. This means that software applications and databases can usually read the file format without any problems. This ensures smooth data transfer between different systems.
- Data structure: The file format enables the display of structured data, including numerical values, text and date/time information. This versatility allows it to be used to transfer production data, quality reports, order details and much more.
Use cases in the factory
Communication via CSV can be useful, especially if files are necessary for the exchange of information or can be realized more economically. The file format is used in production and manufacturing environments to exchange data between OT/IT systems, databases and employees. Examples are:
- Integration of machines: The file format is used to exchange data between machines and ERP systems (e.g. transfer of production orders via UC4 jobs in SAP).
- Reporting and analysis: Production data, quality reports and performance indicators can be saved in CSV files and exchanged between machines, employees and databases.
- Documentation: The file format is sometimes used to document configuration data, such as settings and parameters of production machines.
i-flow and CSV
i-flow performs several functions in combination with CSV. While CSV defines the exchange format, i-flow allows easy configuration of data routes and transformations to seamlessly exchange files between different systems. In i-flow, the business logic and rules according to which the exchange between the systems takes place are defined. If necessary, system protocols and data structures of source and target systems can be converted into the file format.