Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Brief Analysis of Mil Spec 130

What is MIL-STD-130N?
The Department of Defense has hundreds of standards by which they operate. MIL-STD-130N, or Mil Spec 130, is one of these specifications that outlines the correct requirements and procedures for marking, identifying, and tracking all military property. Anything that is warehoused, supplied, made, or issued by the any branch of the Department of Defense is required to be marked in accordance with Mil Spec 130.

There are some items that don’t fall under Mil Spec 130 guidelines because they may be included in other standards, not required to be marked with a Item Unique Identification (IUID), or are marked in some other way. One example is vehicles, because they are already marked with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Specifications for Marking and Quality
Mil Spec 130 requires the following criteria be followed for proper marking.

· The marking must be on some type of stiff identification plate, band, tag, or label that is firmly affixed to the article. The identifying mark can be put directly onto the item’s surface as long as it is clearly visible while the item is in operation and it will last through the life expectancy of that item. The mark must also be able to hold up to conditions in its surrounding environment.

· If an item is not large enough for a full IUID, Mil Spec 130 requires that at least the most important information be included on the mark. The information that must be included is the Enterprise Identifier, the PIN number of the item, and the Lot or Batch number. If there is no room on the item for any type of mark, the packaging may be marked with all of the required information.

· In order for the information on the markings to be readable, the minimum font size recommended is .08 inches. Mil Spec 130 also has specific font recommendations.

· Machine Readable Information (MRI) is the preferred system of marking and Mil Spec 130 outlines the formats that it must follow. A specific MRI marking protocol is required unless the items call for certain industry specific marking protocols.

· The required information included in an MRI is: the Enterprise Identifier of the manufacturer; the serial number; the current PIN, lot, or batch number; the current PIN, lot, or batch number; and in the case of duplicate part numbers, Unique Item Identifiers (UII) must be assigned and included.

· Mil Spec 130 also contains strict guidelines concerning the quality of the IUID marking. This includes specific protocols for the linear bar code and print quality of the data matrix symbol.

Interpretation of all the requirements and specifications of Mil Spec 130 is complicated, at best. The experts at ID Integration, a company specializing in industrial marking systems, are experienced with every aspect of this particular military standard.

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