Wednesday, March 25, 2009

UID Marking: Method For Improving Item Traceability

The United States Department of Defense has laid down that UID marking has to be done on any available asset. UID marking is a unique way to mark tangible items so that a duplicate of the same item cannot be available anywhere in the world. It makes sure that only one number is attached to one item. This number is the identification of this item, which will help to trace this item, irrespective of where it rests in this world.

The technology behind UID marking is 2D Data Matrix ECC 200 symbol. This type of marking takes care of data integrity and data quality during the entire lifetime of the item. UID marking also supports multi-faceted business applications. This marking standard supports the DoD in its drive to meet enhanced goals and objectives. It enhances total asset visibility, improves lifecycle item management and accountability and provides clean financial audits.

Quality of UID marking

But it is not enough to just go for UID marking. We should make sure that the 2D Data Matrix bar code adheres to a high level of quality. It has to conform to UID standard when it is used with either direct part UID marking techniques or labels. It should also meet the standards set by ISO and SAE.

The surface does not obstruct the UID markings. These markings as well as 2D matrix bar code symbols can be made on many types of surfaces. The UID marking symbols generally can be found among UCC.EAN, ANSI MH 10.8.2 or ATA style descriptors. The Department of Defense (DoD) has become choosy about the type of items it accepts. It strictly puts down that the selected vendors should supply parts with UID Data Matrix symbols conforming to MIL-STD 130M standard.

It is certain that when each part is engraved with an UID using Data Matrix Laser etching system, they have the name of the manufacturer, serial number and part number inscribed on them. This unique identification sets each item apart and will later help to identify it, no matter who uses it or which part of the world it goes to.

Method behind UID marking

When so much care is taken to inscribe each item with an UID, we must pay importance to the fact that the material with which it is marked lasts the entire lifetime of the item. It should not come off under any circumstances. The UID bar code should remain on the item in a readable form. This is why it is imperative that the UID marking methodology is above criticism.

Many types of materials are used in different methods used in UID marking. A metal tag with a permanent adhesive is preferably used. We can also make use of durable polyester labels. Both of them are suitable for use in many different environments. Some other marking items are laser etch, dot peen, chemical etch and ink jet. All of them suit the purpose of direct part Unique Identification. UID marking can be used to make life easier for most people in the world.

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