Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The easiest way to decipher the MIL-STD-130N UID standards

Inventory and inventory tracking are a serious matter to any business, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is no different. The MIL-STD-130N is, essentially, a set of DoD standards that determine requirements and methods used for marking, identification and tracking of military property. Each item being tracked must carry a Unique Identification or UID. These standards apply to any property that is produced, issued or stored by or for the Department of Defense.

All items must carry some form of UID, whether it is an applied mark or an existing UID such as an electronic serial number or Vehicle Identification Number on a car. Whenever possible, Machine Readable Identification (MRI) or “barcodes” are the preferred form of UID. Regardless of the method used, numerous specifications cover the specifics of the type of UID, placement and information contained. Some of these standard specified criteria are:

• The type of material that the UID mark is applied to
• The method used to secure the UID marking to the item
• The location of the UID mark
• The visibility of the UID mark
• Permanency of the UID mark throughout the life expectancy of the item
• Ability of the UID mark to withstand environmental conditions
• The ability of the UID mark to withstand maintenance

The regulations regarding UID markings are also extremely specific. For instance the text size for a human readable marking must be 0.2 centimeters or 0.08 inches. All of the letters of the text must be in a sans-serif font and numbers should be in Arabic. The exception to this rule is the usage of Roman numerals, in which case you must turn to other documentation to determine what type of font to use. Text markings are also limited to 50 characters and should use the Data Matrix EEC 200 symbol using ISO/IEC 15418 semantics and ISO/IEC 15434 syntax, unless they are subject to DFARS mandated markings.

To cover all of the standards and regulations here would be an exhaustive process for both reader and writer. Suffice it to say that for the uninitiated, digging through the specifications of the MIL-STD-130N and its attached documentation to determine the correct marking for a product is a nightmare.

This is where ID-Integration steps in to save the day. Fortunately for us, the experts there live and breathe the MIL-STD-130N each day. Let them handle the tedious task of digging through the MIL-STD-130N to determine the nomenclature used, how tall it should be, whether it should be on metal or plastic and whether or not it should be a tag, label, band or plate. They’ll do what they do well and give you the opportunity to get on with doing what you do well.

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