Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IUID Marking Within the Department of Defense

In order to keep track of the wide variety of equipment produced, issued, and possessed by the military, the Department of Defense adheres to an identification standard known as MIL-STD-130N. One of the most important functions of this standard is the notation of requirements for proper IUID marking (Item Unique Identification), which grants every single item its own identity and history. Even items that are identical in production will have a unique number, setting them apart as specific and separate entities. This assigned identification will never be changed, and a suitable IUID marking ensures that this identity remains with the item.

One important set of requirements within the MIL-STD-130N details the appropriate location for applying an IUID marking to a piece of military equipment. First of all, the label must be easily visible and accessible during the item’s normal usage, and should remain so for the entire lifespan of the item. The IUID marking should be placed on a sturdy metal or plastic piece which can be attached to the item or even directly on the item itself when appropriate. This mark must also be sustainable throughout any repairs or cleaning the item might regularly go through. If there is no available space for such an IUID marking to be positioned, one may be placed on the actual packaging of the item.

While some instances allow for a text-based marking which would be readable by a human, the preferred form of IUID marking is the MRI (Machine Readable Information). A standard known as MH10.8.7 is followed when making MRI marks unless a partner association (such as NASA) follows its own marking protocol which is supported by the Department of Defense.

MIL-STD-130N also specifies the particular information which an MRI provides. An IUID marking must contain an EID (Enterprise Identifier) of the issuing organization or activity, a unique serial number, and the PIN (Part or Identifying Number) or batch number of the item.

In order to ensure the proficiency of the MRI system, the Department of Defense additionally denotes certain requirements towards the quality of an IUID marking. The MIL-STD-130N references specific protocols for inspecting the quality of an MRI mark both as a linear bar code and as a data matrix symbol.

Considering both the quantity and nature of the equipment used by the Department of Defense, the necessity of proper identification and tracking of these items is paramount. For this reason, such explicit standards as the MIL-STD-130N are required for the placement, information, and quality of any IUID markings within this system. However, this explanation has only touched the surface of what is clearly a complicated subject, and those seeking further information should turn to the experts at ID-Integration.

No comments: