Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Construction Basics of UID labels

The basic formats of UID label construction determined by the Department of Defense are essential to follow for the contractors.

About UID labels
The Department of Defense has devised the methodology of UID labels or Unique Identification labels as serializing and marking procedure to keep record of the defense related tangible assets. According to the authorization of DoD, all tangible personal as well as Government Furnished Property, issued on or after 1st January 2004, should be marked with UID labels. However, the DoD plans to mark all tangible as well as embedded assets with UID labels by 31st December 2010. As per the estimation of DoD only 20% of the UID markings will be part marked directly and the 80% will be on name plates or labels.

The contractors, supplying the items were also instructed to fill the UID marking registration by May 2006. The permanent UID labels are allowed by Mil-Std 130 standard. According to Mil-Std 130M Section, “marks that are acceptable as per the requirements for printing on label material in shall be acceptable or alternately see appropriate tables in SAE AS9132 (the Aerospace Industry Marking Standard) for quality requirements.”

The UID labels and the nameplates for the marking and identification of the items should have characteristics such as chemical resistant, chemical resistant, scratch resistant, non-removable. Moreover, they should be readable for the life of the item. The most commonly used materials for UID labels are brushed aluminum foil, polyester and polyimide. There are certain techniques such as laser etching and dot peening are done unto the UID labels to make them withstand the harsh environment condition.

The Item that Require UID Labels

As per the DoD mandate, there are certain specified items that require UID labels on them. The items.

  • That are serially managed
  • That are mission essential
  • Whose unit acquisition cost is $5,000 or more
  • That are embedded and where it is necessary to have permanent identification

The construction basics of UID labels
While constructing the Unique Identification for the tangible items there are two basic methods that are essential to be followed.
Construct #1 carries information such as part no, serial no, item description
Construct #2 has serial no, original part number, lot number or batch number for embedded items
Both the construction process should strictly comply with MIL-STD 130 ATA 2000 standard of UID labels.

All designs and the marks of the UID labels are authorized by the U.S. Government materiel purchases. The plain texts and the 2-dimentional data matrix barcodes help the government agencies to categorize all the government furnished assets.

Factors that Determines the UID label Markings
The marking of the items with UID labels is determined by some important factors. Nature of the items, their operational environment and their maintenance procedures are the prime factors that decide the marking methodologies. Secondly, the UID marking capability also depends on requirements of the manufacturers, the methods they follow and their technical expertise of making the parts. Of course, the marking technique of 2-D Data Matrix is compatible with all marking techniques.

Benefits of UID Labels

With the marking of the items with Unique Identification mark, it is easy for the the DoD to keep track of the availability of the equipments, acquisition of the items, their deployment and repair standards. The process also reduces the forging of items as well as the asset management cost. In a nutshell, the UID labels enhances the operational productivity.

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