A unique identification code (UID) refers to universally identifiable data that provides unique identities to products and items. All Department of Defense (DoD) products and parts bear labels, or marked identification, containing unique data. The DoD regulates the features of these labels, the marking procedures, quality control, storage, and tracking. To ensure product visibility and traceability, the DoD has approved MIL STD 130 specified rules. MIL STD 130 specification enumerates the basic rules for unique identification marking procedures. These rules cover label affixation, encoding processes, types of marking, data formatting, and other aspects. Along with this, MIL SPEC 130 also specifies certain qualifications for label manufacturers and product suppliers.
Nameplates and tags: The DoD recommends contractors use metal nameplates made of aluminium, stainless steel or another durable metal. Data can be directly engraved on to the product shell. Polyester nameplates are also recommended for unique identification marking. Small products that have no space to accommodate direct engraving or nameplates can bear tags. In such cases, tags should include MRI and HRI codes, as well as data. All types of nameplates, tags and engravings should be of a permanent nature, meaning that it should last a product’s lifespan.
Data format and encoding process: Labels can be written in 1D data format or 2D data format. 2D data format is most preferable. These data formats are both machine and human readable. Labels have to undergo data validation and verification processes to ensure the authenticity of these codes. Apart from complying with MIL STD 130, unique identification labels must follow the guidelines stated in ISO15415 and AS9132.
Approved types of markings: A number of markers are approved by MIL STD 130. Any of the following can be applied to mark labels and nameplates:
• Ink jet marker
• Programmable stylus indenting
• Laser printing
• Chemical etching
MIL STD 130 specifications for manufacturers and product suppliers: Manufacturers must apply for proper registration before supplying products to the government. Each of the product nameplates should bear a unique number and product code. Other information that should be included are:
• Part number, product number and manufacturer codes.
• Serial numbers, batch numbers scanner should meet the specifications mentioned in this article.
• Data matrix bar code (2D code).
• Enterprise identifier: DUNS, Cage, GSI Company Profile, etc.
To learn more about UID basics contained in MIL STD 130, visit http://www.uid2go.com/news.html.