Monday, June 1, 2009

MIL-STD-130 N: The Standard for UID Marking

The MIL-STD-130 N is a necessary standard for defining the requirements for item identification. The scope of the MIL-STD-130 N includes describing both criteria and the methods used.

MIL-STD-130 N is a standard which has been brought forth and recognized by the Department of Defense and all its related Departments and Agencies. Clarification regarding the implementation of Machine Readable Information (MRI) is provided by MIL-STD-130 N. MRI is done for automatic data capture and item identification marking. MRI also provides a vital device for life cycle asset management. The process involves acquiring, manufacturing, defining the logistics and then disposing off the task.

MRI Is Not Enough

The MIL-STD-130 N however does not stipulate that all item identification should be done by MRI. There are some items which can be identified by Human Readable Information (HRI). It is important to identify which items are to be marked by MRI and which by HRI. A combination of both may be the answer for some items. MIL-STD-130 N stipulates that instead of MRI, free text information item identification can also be done.

Criteria For Marking

Product designers find out ways for better item identification marking requirements. The different criteria, on the basis of which this is done is laid down in the MIL-STD-130 N. While deciding the product definition data, the product designers must be specific about the requirements for marking content, application process, location, size and also the relevant marking materials for the process preceding the delivery of an article. It is not enough for the product designers to state that the marking is to be done according to MIL-STD-130 N standards. It will be difficult to design, develop and manufacture an item based on such little information. It will also be confusing to produce and procure the replenishment spare items.

The same applies for acquiring activities. They must also apply the MIL-STD-130 N in all their contractual instruments. As with product designers, they have to also lay down the requirements for item identification marking. Only a reference to MIL-STD-130 N standard is not enough. It has to be specifically stated that item identification marking is necessary and the criteria for developing the requirements must also be outlined.

To Define Without Conflict

Certain engineering documentation terminology is used by the product designer. The definitions laid down in the MIL-STD-130 N are almost in accordance with these terminologies. But irregularities are bound to occur. There might be discrepancy between the definitions followed by the product designer and the Automatic Identification Technology disciplines. There is ample provision in the MIL-STD-130 N to sort out such conflicts. There is also scope to cite the source in case of discrepancy.

Defining the Scope

So we can conclude that the MIL-STD-130 N is basically a standard for identifying the items belonging to the military and audited by the Department of Defense. This standard defines the criteria for the necessity of item marking requirements and also the methods for identifying these items. Both criteria and data content are issues addressed by the MIL-STD-130 N relating to free text and MRI for item identification marking. But while going through the standard, the figures should not be given much relevance. They are just there for the purpose of illustrations.

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