Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The UID Encoding and Decoding Technologies

UID marking of the items requires specific encoding and decoding technology for its enhanced application and improved UID efficiency.

The unique identifications or UIDs of the items are the globally unique recognitions for the item that distinguishes them from the other items and help the possessor keep track of them. In fact, the unique identification marking is a vital part of any business organization as well as the US Department of Defense. The UID is marked on the item in the form of 2D data matrix barcode symbol which is etched on part on a square grid. The marking is either directly engraved on the item or affixed to the part as UID labels or nameplates. However, it is essential that the marking should be permanent for the lifetime of the item.

For the UID to be considered as DoD equivalent, there are certain important criteria for the commercial identifiers

The UID must contain an enterprise identifier

It must uniquely identify an individual item along with product and part number and enterprise identifier.

It should have AI and DI listed in data identifier and application identifier standard and American National Standard.

The Methods of UID Construction

The MIL-STD-130 has stated two recognized methods of UID construction for the items. The contractors or suppliers will have to select the most appropriate method considering the application.

Construct # 1, with serialization within the enterprise identifier,

Construct # 2, with serialization within the lot number or batch number and original part number, lot number or batch number

The application of construction method is decided depending on the manufacturing process.

With construction #1 the UID is created with the help of unique serial number which is added to the item following the enterprise identification which may be a DUNS, CAGE/NCAGE, or EAN.UCC number. The concatenated UID of the items will get a proper Issuing Identity Code if the appropriate data qualifier is applied before the enterprise identification. However, it doesn’t need the data matrix marking with IAC.

The construction #2 of the UID is also developed with enterprise identification. However, for a complete UID, it requires some of the other data such as original part number, lot number, or batch number, and the serial number along with it.

The existing part number is an additional data element of the item, but not a part of the UID.

The Methods of Identifying the UID Marking

The data elements of the UID are engraved on the part or the UID label in the form of 2D data matrix barcode and they decoded with the help of barcode scanner or automated reader. As the UID is derived from its data elements, the barcode scanners identify each data element while decoding the UID. The data elements are introduced to the scanner along with their prefixes at the time of reading the data matrix code. In the commercial use the data qualifiers prefixes are used in the form of alphanumeric Data Identifiers; (DI), numeric Application Identifiers (AI), or alpha; or Text Element Identifiers (TEI).

The human readable 2D data matrix code is encoded and decoded using Automated Identification Technology (AIT). The technology has significantly enhanced the barcode efficiency.

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