What do I need for the MIL-STD-130? (DoD UID Label)
If your company has just started shipping items to the Department of Defense (DoD), the abbreviation UID might be a new one to you. However, it's a crucial technology to know about because the DoD is moving towards making it mandatory for more and more types of shipments.
UID standards for unique identification. You may also see IUID for item unique identification. It's the same thing and it refers to the same mil-std-130N.
For MIL-STD-130N, you simply need a UID label. This label consists of your company's CAGE code, the Part Number of the product, and the Serial of the item. There is also a 2D Matrix you can scan that contains all of the information printed on the label.
UID Labels 101
UID labels are required on mission-critical items shipped to the DoD, as well as all items worth $5,000 or more. The label must contain specific information about the item, as well as be capable of withstanding the life of the item.
The mandate number issued by the DoD is MIL-STD-130N. It's about 80 pages . It's a long, dense document, but the important part regarding UID is what's been mentioned. The DoD only asks for the CAGE code, part number, and serial number to produce a unique indentification. The CAGE code is the unique five-digit number given to contractors with the Department of Defense. You likely have one already if you have a government contract. In addition, the quality of the UID label must be graded at least a B rating, referring to the quality of 2D barcode image for contrast and dot-pitch accuracy. SimplyRFiD produces grade A labels, only. This requires higher quality equipment but it means, as your image degrades over time, it won't drop below acceptable quality.
The biggest reason systems fail to produce grade A UID images:
- Contrast. On Black and White labels, this is seldom an issue to get grade A. If the system is not cleaned properly, they black may not fully fill each dot or look like it's running low on ink. Those will usually get a C or lower grade.
Second biggest reason images get graded a B or below:
- Inaccurate dot pitch. SimplyRFiD uses a 600DPI printer to produce super crisp UID and ultra-premium Zebra Resin ribbon for long image life.
Metal plate UID's have more issues to deal with. Since metal plates are often struck-images (hammered into the plate), you have to worry about shadows affecting the performance.
UID Label Sizes
There is no specific requirement for a UID label size.
SimplyRFiD offers three sizes:
3"x1" Classic UID Label - This was our first UID label. It has 1D barcodes for the MFG, Serial, and PNO (part number). This is a rather large label and the 1D barcodes are not required. Some customers like it because they scan the 1D barcodes when packing product.
2"x1" UID Label - This is our most popular label. A little smaller and has all the info.
1.5"x0.5" UID Label - A tiny label that solves the problem, however, sometimes the part number is too big to fit on the label.
Customers will often ask for custom information to be included on the label, like contract number. We can do that for a one-time custom label design change. That custom label can then be used for all your future orders.
In-House UID Printer or Premade Labels?
Are you getting ready to start shipping with UID labels? There are a few options available to you. Your company can print in-house labels after an initial investment in a printer. UID printing systems are expensive but might be worth it if you print a lot of labels. A 600 DPI printer costs between $3,000 and $5,000. A UID verification System costs about $10,000. If you only need a few labels, you can order them pre-printed with all relevant information already included. SimplyRFiD's pre-printed, certified, verified UID labels are significant cost savings over purchasing a system if you are producing fewer than 1,000 UID's per month.
All of these terms refer to the same MIL-STD-130N specification and are used interchangeably:
- UID Labels: A label produced for to the MIL-STD-130N specification. This label is applied to the equipment.
- IUID Labels: Same as UID Label. For a while, the industy refered to the UID label as an IUID. The specification still says IUID, but it's commonly shortened to UID.
- Army IUID Labels: Same as the MIL-STD-130N
- DoD IUID Labels: Same as the MIL-STD-130N