NWA Quality Analyst: Database Connectivity

Overview

NWA Quality Analyst’s database connectivity lets you define Quality Analyst Data Sets that use external databases as the source of data. You can connect to external data directly or via ODBC (Open database connectivity). NWA Database Connectivity offers significant advantages for both plant and corporate SPC users. Company, plant, and departmental quality systems are easier to set up, use, and manage. Direct access to data eliminates extraction and manipulation of database files. The workload required by day-to-day SPC reporting is reduced, allowing the production and quality control staffs to concentrate on process management and improvement.

NWA database connectivity enables NWA Quality Analyst users to directly retrieve data from remote ODBC-compliant sources such as Oracle, Sybase, DB2 and others that support the Microsoft Open database connectivity standard. Users may also create direct connections with popular PC databases such as Access, dBASE, Paradox, and FoxPro. Both methods let users create tightly integrated manufacturing and quality information systems, while eliminating the need to manipulate imported files.  database connectivity enables users to retrieve data in standard table format that directly maps to Quality Analyst data sets. A straightforward user interface guides even casual users through the connection definition process; setting up connections becomes a seamless part of Quality Analyst’s standard data set definition process.

Users can select only the data fields they wish to use without having to transfer or manipulate large, unwieldy files. More advanced users may enter SQL queries directly to establish multiple table connections or perform complex database operations. Once the data source has been established, Quality Analyst behaves and operates the same as it would with its own files, including full use of powerful automated charting and reporting features.

Charting and analysis are accomplished seamlessly, regardless of the actual location of the source data. The connection is automatic, and the user is always working with the most current data.  With Quality Analyst’s comprehensive charting and powerful automation features, users can implement scalable, robust quality information systems using off-the-shelf components, in a wide variety of network and database environments.

Straightforward Connection

Database connections with Quality Analyst are established in a straightforward manner, whether by ODBC or by direct connect. To define an ODBC data source, the user needs the appropriate ODBC driver and access to the desired database. (ODBC drivers are usually distributed by the database vendor; otherwise, they are often available from third party suppliers.) Quality Analyst displays a list of the available data sources, plus the tables or database files available from each source. The user selects the source and tables, then maps the desired fields to columns in the Quality Analyst data set.

Once connectivity data sets are defined, users can perform Quality Analyst’s full range of SPC charting and analysis without concern for the actual source of data or how the connections were established-the connection is a seamless part of the user interface.

Advanced Features

Data Filters

User-defined filters in the module provide a straightforward way to select subsets of data as part of the data table definition. By performing the filter operation before the data is read, system performance is improved, and users don’t have to contend with sorting through data from large, unwieldy files. Once imported, data can be sorted still further using the three-way data filter in Quality Analyst’s spreadsheet-like data editor, giving users exceptional capabilities for in-depth analysis.

Using SQL with Database Connectivity

Users who need to perform multitable operations or complex manipulation to retrieve the correct data may take advantage of the power and flexibility of Structured Query Language (SQL). User-defined SQL statements become part of the connectivity data set definition, and may be modified as needed.

Users who are not proficient with SQL can copy and paste complete SQL queries created using other applications (such as the Microsoft Access Query By Example function) directly to a Quality Analyst connectivity definition. This approach to creating SQL queries puts complex database operations within reach of the average NWA Quality Analyst user.  Automated Charting

By combining database connectivity with Quality Analyst’s Run File capabilities, users can create fully automated SPC charting routines that use data from external sources. When connectivity data sets are included in Run Files, data source connections are automatic, giving users up-to-the-minute charting capability. Users can automate repetitious tasks for unattended operation or simplify complex procedures, reducing training time. Creation of automated quality reporting systems becomes feasible.

Corporate Advantages

Database connectivity can reduce or eliminate the data isolation often found in large organisations.

  • Direct access to production and quality information
  • Increased corporation-wide use of SPC
  • Standardization of SPC reporting and analysis
  • More effective plant-by-plant comparison

Plant-wide Advantages

Database connectivity provides new paths for more effective process improvements and problem solving.

  • Direct access to plant databases, including MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems)
  • Increased plant-wide visibility of SPC
  • Better interdepartmental communication
  • Immediate access to test results from production or laboratory

Departmental Advantages

With database connectivity, departmental users can assemble flexible, affordable Quality Information Systems, without custom programming or additional system hardware purchases.

  • Improved productivity in quality control analysis and reporting
  • Better access to information collected by other departments
  • Faster development of process improvements
  • Greater consistency in data analysis and presentation

The Next Steps

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