Friday, February 5, 2010

The Basics of MIL-STD-130N

MIL-STD-130N may stand for military standard number 130 section N, but if the name suggests unnecessary complexity, the body of the MIL-STD-130N will exceed expectations. MIL-STD-130N is a five page document developed by the Department of Defense which goes into extraordinary depth about the nature and content of labels and markings on items ranging from boxes of Cheerios to stocks of M16 rifles. Actually, M16 rifle wouldn't be nearly specific enough to qualify as an acceptable IUID (Item Unique Identification) by the standards of MIL-STD-130N. These labels apply to anything that might pass through anybody administered by the Department of Defense, or nearly everything.
The nature of tags, plates, labels, and bands, according to MIL-STD-130N, should be hard plastic of metal, preferably with MRI, or Machine Readable Information, marked clearly in an easily accessible location. Additionally, the tag, plate, label, or band will need a slew of numbers, including but not limited to lot numbers, batch numbers, PINs, and UIIs (Unique Item Identifiers) so that the Department of Defense can tell one widgit from a different widgit of the exact same type. For items too small to contain a reasonable MRI or proper IUID (Item Unique Identification), there are specific and copious rules on how small the writing can be, exactly what information to put at the minimum, and where to put information if it just won't fit.
In the MIL-STD-130N document, this summary has covered about a page and a half. In the following three and a half pages, MIL-STD-130N continues in excruciating detail about individual organizations with independent marking systems and whether these systems constitute an appropriate IUID and if not how they can be made to conform. Most people would probably be better off visiting the good folks at ID-Integration, who will help with all of this kind of stuff.

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