Monday, June 29, 2009

The MIL-STD-129 Standard For Marking of Shipment

The MIL specs for different items differ depending on the nature of the items. The MIL-STD-129 standards are set of instructions aimed at achieving standard objectives.

MIL-STD-129 is one of the DoD MIL specification standards. This fundamental military standard is meant to maintain uniformity in the military product marking for shipment and storage. It is essential that all military equipments and ammunitions supplied to DoD through shipment should be marked according to standard and specifications mentioned in MIL-STD-129. As any MIL specs, used by DoD to achieve standardized objectives, the MIL-STD-129 is specifically designed for the shipment and storage. The standard mentions the details of marking the items beginning from designing and construction to quality control and maintenance. The MIL-STD-129 has provided separate instruction for tagging, marking and labeling.

The DoD MIL specs keep on changing in regular interval of time keeping in mind the necessary requirements. For instance, the DoD observed certain drawbacks in the marking system according to the MIL-STD-129 standard. As the container marking bears same level of significance as the item marking, the discrepancies in the standard was rectified with the upgraded version of MIL-STD-129, ie. MIL-STD-129P. The revised version of MIL-STD-129 was introduced on 16th January 2006. Although the MIL-STD-129 standard is a rigorous practice for item marking, the contractors are required to follow the instruction regarding application of numbers, labels, tags along with use of symbols and colors.

The specifications requirements for different kinds of containers are discussed bellow.

Unit Containers

The containers are listed only after they are assigned with unique serial number by the Government or the manufacturer for identification or control. The MIL-STD-129 standard has also mandated that the serial number should be entered in a clear format. The other data required for marking the Unit Containers are National Stock Number (NSN) Barcode, NSN,CAGE, part number, quantity, item description, unit of issue, contract number, date of preservation, lot number (if used), method of preservation code. Shelf marking of the containers is required to specify the start of shelf life of the items that need to be tested or disposed of.

It is to remember that the serial numbers assigned to indicate the quantity produced should not be listed. Sometimes, the exterior containers are used as unit containers, and at that time the exterior container rules are applied for the unit container.

Intermediate container

The rules for marking the intermediate containers are the same as the unit container and the same data are applied except the serial number. When an intermediate container contains more than five serial-numbered items, the exterior container rules for the serial number are applied for the purpose.

Exterior Container

For the exterior container, the basic rules of the unit container are applied except some of the specific identification marking requirements. The MIL-STD-129 specifications, there are few exceptions in the marking procedure. For instance, it is mandatory that the Contract Number, NSN, and CAGE Code should be entered in the barcode format. The marking of exterior container doesn’t require item descriptions. The additional levels required for the marking are Military Shipment Label (MSL), Direct-Vendor Delivery (DVD) Label, Serial Number Barcode(s).

The MIL-STD-129 specifications are crucial part of DoD’s item tracking process.

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