Friday, April 8, 2011

Marking UID Labels Following DFARS 252.211-7003

The United States of America follows an extensive system to ensure maximum protection and safety to an entire nation of people. With today’s critical need for national security, our government makes it a primary objective to ensure complete tracking of all Department of Defense (DoD) assets for safety and security purposes, throughout the full life cycle of a given product or part. In July 2003, the DoD established a set of guidelines, containing certain rules and regulations that need to be followed by the military and any suppliers to the U.S. Department of Defense.

These regulations contained a series of specifications for UID marking to generate an orderly and methodical means of tracking assets from their purchase, to distribution, or usage anywhere by the U.S. government. A popular form of accepted identification, UID labels, emerged as a preferable solution for the DoD guidelines; including DFARS 252.211-7003. These guidelines contain specific instructions to the marking method, identification nomenclature, and durability requirements, among many other important factors. To become more proficient in all the relevant DoD rules and regulations, consult the full text contained within the DFARS 252.211-7003 along with MIL SPEC 130 or MIL STD 130. Primarily, the UID labels were used only by the Government or the military but nowadays, many non government bodies too, are using the UID labels to authenticate and keep track of the various items and properties owned by it.

There are some basics, that need to be kept in mind when attempting to meet or exceed the DoD enforced DFARS 252.211-7003 standards:

• Remember that UID marking is done to assist in tracking and recognizing a particular item throughout its complete lifecycle. Therefore the UID labels, or identification marks, must be positioned in a way that is prominently visible. This mark must not be hidden in any corner of the item. DFARS 252.211-7003 stipulates specifically that all UID marking needs to be placed somewhere on the clearly visible parts of the body of the item.

• According to DFARS 252.211-7003 requirements UID labels can be marked in several ways, including etching, bonding, laser marking, high resolution inkjet printing, dot peen stamping, chemical stenciling, and etching, among many other effective measures. Most businesses tend to select the marking method that fits best within their existing production processes, while complying to the DFARS 252.211-7003 standards; as well as MIL SPEC 130.

• Sometimes, a situation arises, when there isn’t much space available on the body of an item. DFARS 252.211-7003 and other regulations require at least the minimum and the most basic of the information to be marked on the body of the item. Some UID labels are really long and if the item is of a small size, it might not be easy to mark it with the entire long code. In such a situation, the most important and basic information needs to be placed on the body. In some exceptions, it is possible to affix a UID label tag to an item in order to meet compliance requirements.

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