Thursday, June 28, 2012

Helpful Resources to Learn More About UID Labels

Within the Department of Defense (DoD), A UID is a unique permanent marking on an item. These markings – generally found on UID labels - distinguish each item from any other item in the DoD’s inventory. The identification system was implemented by the DoD as an quality assurance program designed to eliminate misplacement, duplicacy, and piracy of articles and items.

The rules and regulations of the program are quite detailed and cover all processes such as UID verification, registration, labeling techniques, and technologies. In this article, we will focus on the importance of the labels, how they are categorized, how to properly mark equipment and other assets, and how they help in the preservation of both government and commercial assets.

The DoD has specified all standard protocol for proper handling of with identification registration. A contractor must first apply for license certification. Documentation of all production-related issues is required before the DoD will approve the application. The objective is simple: To label each item with a unique identifier so that each can be tracked throughout its entire lifecycle.

Mil Spec 130 states the techniques to be followed for marking the required items. It states that:

• The tags or labels should be permanent.

• The tags should be permanently marked either by indented, laser marked, inkjet, or chemical etching processes.

• The tags should contain all required information, such as: Type of commodity, enterprise identifier, serial number, expiry date, batch number, etc.

• When fixed to the items and/or products, the tags should be placed in a visible location to facilitate a clear scan.

• The tags should be of high quality and be well maintained, as they are meant to serve the lifespan of the commodity. 

Apart from these regulations, the protocol is also very specific about the storage and export of articles containing the unique identifier. This is one reason that the information on the tags is recorded with the help of a 2D data matrix scanner. This means that the item can be traced anytime, should it need to be quickly located and retrieved or reassigned. This also helps tighten security measures.

However, not all items require UID labels. There are several regulations detailing precisely what equipment qualifies for labeling. These regulations can sometimes be difficult to decipher for manufacturers, who may not be sure which – if any – of their products require a label. For clarification or assistance on these regulations, visit ID Integration, Inc. online at

Friday, June 22, 2012

The UID Registry: How It Helps In Tracking and Authentication

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) developed the unique identification system (UID) to serve as a more organized approach to storing relevant information in order to improve the department’s asset management. The unique identifier is created by linking all information about the item and its production together in a series of up to 50 characters, which can be read and decoded only by special scanners. When a unique identifier has been created, it must be entered into the IUID register to ensure that it is truly unique. This protects against the inadvertent use of the same identifier for multiple items.

The DoD details the proper process of the UID program in its manual MIL SPEC 130 and MIL STD 130. The manual addresses each compliance requirement that contractors must meet in order to maintain the department’s uniform system.

Unique identification registration is one of the many essential steps covered in MIL STD 130, along with proper labeling of the item itself. The registry serves as a single repository for all the data related to each labeled item. The registry is maintained by the government and is used to store the data records of every marked item, including location, date of manufacture, shipping records, tracking suppliers’ chain, and other important production data.

The registry facilitates asset tracking and management by providing a detailed and accurate record of each item’s location, value, and lifecycle. This saves taxpayers’ money by increasing efficiency and productivity. It also lowers the lifecycle costs of managed items. It can be used to provide pertinent data for logistical and engineering analysis, and provides historical data on each item from design to disposal. Finally, the registry provides accurate data for calculating value and accountability of items, which leads to clean audits for the DoD.

Having elaborated so much on the UID registry and its purpose, it should be mentioned that not all assets require this identification or registration. The government regulations regarding qualifying commodities and products are covered in MIL SPEC guidelines. The regulations and standards are the same across all industries. However, MIL SPEC 130 and MIL STD 130 also include several articles and sub-clauses that deal with exceptions. For a thorough understanding of the relatively complex regulations, it is advisable to refer to a quality online resource like To learn more about this scanner, visit ID Integration, Inc. at for more information and photos.

Some Basics of MIL SPEC 130 Compliance

Unique Identification (UID) is a set of unique data for tangible assets. The program was initiated by the Department of Defense (DoD) as a solution to stay in better compliance with the Chief Financial Officers’ Act of 1990. Every product that has been manufactured or distributed for use by the government – whether private or commercial – has a unique identification tag. The objective of the program is simple: Serialize production and maintain each asset. This identification includes a barcode, which requires a UID compliant scanner to read, verify, and record the barcode’s information, and assists in tracking a product, part, or other physical asset over time.

This process was introduced by the Department of Defense as a preventive measure to improve organization and decrease duplication, misuse, and loss of products. All compliance protocols are documented in MIL SPEC 130, which also covers regulations related to procurement of a manufacturer’s license, product quality, and valuation standards, as well as the proper procedures for recording statistical data.

According to MIL SPEC 130, the plan was designed to maintain an official record of production data with the government for better accessibility and tracing. The system, however, does have some limitations. Not all products are required to be included in the program. Only those that qualify under the UID standards need be registered with a unique identification number.

MIL SPEC 130 also specifies manufacturing procedures, techniques to encode an item with its identification number, and other logistical information. The information on the label is provided in human readable format along with a data matrix barcode readable by a special scanner. The scanner’s software is programmed to verify the number code and record statistics in an organized manner.

All essential information needed to comply with the program is included in the protocol manual, including data printing type, label placement, technology to be used, and so on. For example, the manual states that RFID, thermal transfer, laser printing, dot peen, and chemical etching are the preferred choices for the permanent markings – dependent on the material to be marked.

The importance of durability in all products with UID labels is of prime concern. If the numbers are not placed correctly, or there is faulty printing, damage is likely to occur leading to inaccurate or incomplete data collection. Therefore, it is imperative that a manufacturer thoroughly understand and comply with the UID regulations as specified in the protocol mandate.

To better understand the compliance standards, reference ID Integration Inc.’s informative online articles at