Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Understanding UID Marking With Special Reference to MIL-STD-130

In today's global market, efficiency is a focus for saving time, effort, and resources, no matter the industry. The Department of Defense is no different, and has implemented its own guidelines to maximize efficiency with the immense amount of goods in its inventory across all of its branches and organizations. MIL-STD-130 is the regulation that establishes the standards for Unique Identification, or UID marking. These guidelines ensure a uniform approach to UID marking, making it easy for the government to track its inventory, and making it essential for suppliers to understand.

UID marking is the process of labeling items with codes that are unique to each item. According to MIL-STD-130, there are a few acceptable forms of UID marking, and understanding the basics means understanding their importance to your organization. First, a UID marking must be, of course, unique. This is possible by the specificity of the coded information contained in such a label. Each label must include three pieces of important and identifiable information: the Enterprise Identifier, or EID; a serial number; and a Part Identification Number, or PIN. The EID labels the organization of the manufacturer or supplier. The serial number is a traceable number dedicated to the item, and the PIN identifies its relationship to the whole item to which it belongs. These three pieces of information are essential for a compliant UID marking.

There are two kinds of UID marking. First and most preferable is the Machine Readable Information marking, or MRI. This is the preferred method because it is easily standardized and can contain more information encoded in the marking than is readable with the human eye. The second is a human readable marking. Both must contain the three aforementioned pieces of information, but the MRI can and must contain more information, specifically about the item's history and prior labeling. An important quality of both kinds of UID marking is durability. The UID must be able to be read for the entire lifespan of the item. For different materials, different kinds of UID are best suited, including engraving directly on the item. Another important aspect of the UID marking is accessibility, since it must be able to be viewed by machine or by the eye.

Since the specifics of the UID label may change according to the type of item labeled, it is important to fully understand the requirements of MIL-STD-130. No one knows these requirements better than ID-Integration. With a proven history of creating UID solutions, ID-Integration can customize a label for any kind of product to meet the needs of both military standard and your organization. While the basics of MIL-STD-130 are important, it is imperative that you consult an expert, and in the field of UID marking, there is no better expert than ID-Integration.

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