Wednesday, March 17, 2010

UID Marks Defined in Mil-Std-130

There are a number of components to the mil-std-130 specified UID. Sorting through the details can be complicated, but here are some of the very basics, to get you started in becoming more familiar with the U.S. Department of Defense’s mil-std-130.

You can choose nearly any marking technology as long as your mark is permanent for the lifetime of the product and possesses a readable UID mark. If you manufacture a product that is regularly replaced through scheduled maintenance cycles, then the mark is expected to remain legible through the full maintenance cycle. The UID should also contain a data matrix, 2D code sized at an approved size of ½ inch square in most cases. Optimum marking will include the printing of human readable information, linear bar code information, and a data matrix code, when size allows.

Specific elements of a UID mark in MIL-STD-130 consist of an enterprise ID, part number, and serial number, with data qualifiers. Bar codes and data matrix codes will result in a minimum Grade B reading for approval. Other items may be required for those with special contracts and projects as determined by the DoD.

Lettering should be all capitals in a sans-serif font. Popular fonts that meet MIL-STD-130 specs include Futura, Arial, Gothic, and Trebuchet MS. Accepted formats of linear bar codes include Code 39, Code 128, or EAN/UPC symbols. For correct representation of DoD accepted acronyms and abbreviations, you will need to review the complete Department of Defense, Standard Practice document for a full understanding of all mil-std-130 requirements.

It is important that a MIL-STD-130 marking not result in a deleterious effect with its product. In English, this means that the marking cannot disrupt the product’s end performance in any way. Products that may be adversely affected by a marking, should consider alternative marking methods that do not have a negative effect. An example of such an effect would be the loss of mass in a weight-sensitive part, due to an indenting UID mark. If the altered weight, after marking, results in poor performance results, it’s definitely time to reevaluate the marking process. In these cases, attaching a tag or ink jetting a UID mark, may be the best solution.

All the details must be considered when creating a product to exceed mil-std-130 specifications. It can be very confusing to wade through the pages of information on the Department of Defense’s mil-std-130. For help, you may wish to turn to outside resources to help you create a production process that meets mil-std-130 guidelines. If you’re looking for a single resource for all your mil-std-130 integration, then take a good look at ID Integration for full service, personalized solutions to your UID marking needs.

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