Tuesday, March 9, 2010

DoD Asset Marking: Unique, Machine-Readable IDs Complying with MIL-STD-130

The evolving DoD standard for uniquely marking items under its purview is MIL-STD-130. MIL-STD-130 requires marking assets that are produced, stocked, stored, or issued by or for the DoD with Item Unique Identifications (IUID) as Machine Readable Information (MRI). Assets in possession of contractors working for the DoD must comply with this item marking standard. Marking each item with its IUID as MRI is an essential tool for effective DoD asset management.

MIL-STD-130 does specify exclusions for items such as those requiring Human Readable Information (HRI), or those having their own IUID marking as, for instance, a Vehicle Identification Number. In addition, parts within an assembly need not be removed and marked unless so stated in the contract. If legacy item marking is necessary, the IUID will need to be generated.

Compliance to MIL-STD-130 for DoD asset marking requires adhering to many precise and often complex specifications. Some of these are summarized below. ID-Integration has the resources and products to assist your organization in understanding and fully meeting MIL-STD-130.

Unless otherwise specified, the MRI marking protocol is MH10.8.7. Manufacturers that implement the marking standards of the ATA, AIAG, CEA, and GSI each have special MRI protocol instructions. MIL-STD-130 provides direction for other MRI protocols to be approved.

MRI markings must contain the item’s complete IUID and must remain permanent and readable over the life expectancy of the item. The proper location, size, content, and lettering are among the MRI marking specifications included in MIL-STD-130. The item itself can be marked with the MRI or the MRI can be applied to a durable material, such as metal or stiff plastic, and then affixed to the item. If an item does not have enough open space to be marked with the complete IUID, MIL-STD-130 specifies the essential information for item marking, or when it is allowed to mark the item’s packaging.

The information required for the IUID has two approved UII (Unique Item Identifier) constructs:
UII Construct 1: Enterprise Identifier (EID), and a Serial Number (SN). Enterprises must assure that their SN protocols provide globally unique identifiers.
UII Construct 2: EID, original PIN, lot or batch number; and a SN unique within the product identified. Enterprises must assure unique combinations of SN with original part, lot, or batch number assignments.

The MIL-STD-130 specifications include the quality of an MRI marking.
If using a Linear Bar Code, ISO/IEC 15416 is the protocol for measuring its print quality.
If using a Data Matrix Symbol, several protocols are approved to measure its quality. These include ISO/IEC 15415, AIM DPM-1-2006, are SAE AS9132.

Because adhering to MIL-STD-130 for compliant MRI marking is complex, organizations are encouraged to turn to the experts at ID-Integration for more information.

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