The US Department of Defense in a quest to improve efficiency and provide better logistical support developed the MIL-STD-130 specification to identify every single item used by the US Military. The MIL-STD-130 has undergone several revisions and is now on version MIL-STD-130N. This specification mandates the use of a unique identifier called a UID on each item provided to the US military. These UID images must be scannable through the use of a UID scanner .
Per MIL-STD-130N, the UID consists of a 2D data matrix conforming to ISO 15434. Utilizing a 2D data matrix, identifying matrices can range in size from 300 micrometers to over 1 meter in size depending on the application. Like the QR codes popular on the web, 2D data matrices can contain up to 2kb of data and are not human readable. In order to read a UID image, you need to utilize a UID scanner .
The versatility of 2D data matrices is an important reason why the DOD adopted their use. Since the only way to read MIL-STD-130N images is through the use of a UID scanner , it's important to ensure that UID images created and put on items are within tight tolerances and well affixed. This is due to the fact that many different types of UID scanners are used in both the warehouse and the field. Whether a desktop UID scanner is used, a handheld portable UID scanner is used, or even a smartphone acting as a UID scanner is used, the data contained in the UID image must be accessible at all times.
While the US Department of Defense has made exceptions to UID labeling for certain items such as vehicles, these exceptions are slowly disappearing. More and more products in even the consumer market are including MIL Spec 130 compliant labels. A standard identification system for products is just smart business.
The importance of UID images cannot be overstated. Without a properly created UID image scannable by a UID scanner , the US Department of Defense can and will reject item shipments, but more than that, improperly created MIL-SPEC 130 labels can keep badly needed supplies from US soldiers in the field. While it can difficult to fully understand and implement the MIL-STD-130N specifications, it's easy to get to help understanding them and implementing them from the MIL-STD-130N experts at ID-Integration.