Friday, June 11, 2010

Understanding MIL-STD-130 for UID Compliance

The DOD oversees the MIL-STD-130, a standard that explains how to be compliant with UID, which stands for Unique Identification. The military is very serious about controlling and preventing fraud, waste and abuse. All Department of Defense (DOD) assets must be specially marked and meet numerous specifications when designing a contract.

Items like cars that already have an identification number are excluded from this UID marking standard. Included in the standard of marking items is anything “produced, stocked, stored, or issued by the Department of Defense.” There are extensive rules involved in properly marking items that are under the DOD’s control.

UID Specific Marking Specifications

The most important rule to follow is making sure the identification tag, band, label or plastic identification plate is securely attached to the item. The UID marking can be fixed onto the surface of the item if it is visible, easily read, and permanent. The marking must be able to handle environmental turmoil and conditions.

Machine Readable Information or MRI is the preferred method of marking and should be used whenever practicable. If that method of UID is not possible, then the item must be marked in a way that will endure for the life cycle of the item.

For items that are too small to handle proper UID, the most important identification information should be marked. The Enterprise Identifier or EID (organization and activity distinguisher), PIN or Part Identifying Number, LOT or batch number of the marked item should be identified.

If there is not enough space on the item to properly mark the item, the package should identify the unit, following the guidelines of the UID standards.

Industry Specific Protocols

The marking standard has specific requirements for many different industries. Air transport, automotive, consumer electronics, manufactures using GS1 standards, and NASA should adhere to the protocols specific to their industry. Any MRI protocols that are different than the UID standards should request protocol inclusion from the Asset Visibility Division of the DOD.

The MRI explained

There are specifications and minimum requirements in place for how much information the UID mark includes. The EID, serial number, and PIN number as applicable. Duplicate items are often given a Unique Item Identifier or UII, “a numbered prefix given to items in the event of a duplicate part number assignments on behalf of an enterprise so that each individual part can be easily identified.”

Commercial Off the Shelf or COTS items are exempt from UID marking and additional requirements if the item is clearly identifiable with commercial identification information. Obviously, the DOD does not expect parts within an assembly to be identified so long as it is not expected to be repaired and replaced. However, it can be required if included in a specific contract.

Sometimes there are legacy items that need UID markings. The EID that is used to create a UII must be from the organization that ensures uniqueness as opposed to previous markings.

UID Marking Arrangements and Quality

Of course, there are further specifications regarding MRI marking quality. There is specific protocol for linear bar code and data matrix symbols. If the manufacturer is also the Original Design Activity or ODA there are additional protocols to follow. This subject is complicated and you should refer to the experts at ID-Integration for more information.

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