Network File Access Plug-in
Automate file transfer and network processing
The exchange of information via files still exists even in automation. Files with information are used as data packets between systems for asynchronous data exchange. In modern infrastructures the files are also exchanged in the network.
Protocols are available in the network that can be used for secure and authenticated data transfer. With the Network File Access plug-in of the OPC Router, file handling and network-wide file transfer can be implemented. The plug-in supports FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and SMB (Server Message Block) protocols. Files can be exchanged between file servers in any network via FTP if they offer a corresponding FTP server service. The SMB protocol is mainly found on Microsoft Windows systems and implements the classic drive sharing. The Network File Access Plug-in reads, writes, deletes and moves files. The OPC Router and its basic components also process or generate data. Transfer objects are available for data structured as JSON, XML and CSV. The file contents can be obtained from or transferred to the many OPC Router plug-ins as required.
With the Network File Access plug-in, systems are easily coupled via their native interfaces.
That’s how easy it is.
The Transfer-Objects can be used to perform the standard actions for file exchange via FTP and SMB (read, write and delete). The data for the file operations can be processed or generated with the transfer objects for JSON, XML or CSV which are included in the OPC Router by default. Binary data can be transferred directly to transfer objects of other plug-ins, for example to save them in a database.
With the transfer-Object for reading a file, the data is read either as a character string or as a binary data block. After reading, the file is either moved or deleted.
The Write Transfer-Object is used to write data to a file. You can also write data as a character string or in binary format. Files are created if they do not exist and named according to a pattern of your choice. You can append to existing files.
The Delete Transfer-Object deletes defined files.
The Network File Access Plug-in has a trigger that monitors a directory for new and changed files. After detecting such a change, the connection is triggered and the changed file is available with path as a data field.
For browsing purposes the OPC Router offers the selection of files and directories in the network drives and FTP servers at many points of the configuration. The files to be read or written are selected here.
Network File Access Plug-in Application Examples
Process analytical values automatically
Many devices for the analysis of raw materials (laboratory analysis /-tests) document their test results in structured text files (CSV/XML). The files are available for collection in configured file folders. With the OPC Router and the Network File Access Plug-in they can be collected, read out, processed and transferred to other systems. In many cases, the target for this data is initially an SQL database, in which the data is stored in tables in a structured manner and is available for other systems to query.
In this case, the OPC Router is used to integrate analysis and testing devices into the modern IT infrastructure.
Component consumption per CSV to the ERP
For an ERP system, the consumption reports from production are essential for the reconciliation of stock levels and anticipatory calculation of requirements. Many systems receive the messages online via interfaces such as SOAP, REST, SQL Server or via SAP interface. Older production systems provide the consumption data by file, in which the individual component consumption is recorded e.g. line by line in CSV format.
Here the OPC Router serves as a converter, reads the file and processes the individual data records. They are then reported to the ERP system via the more modern interfaces.
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