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Item unique identification (UID or also known as IUID) of items is accomplished by marking each qualifying item with a permanent Data Matrix bar code. That bar code contains the data elements necessary to construct a Unique Item Identifier (UII) which is globally unique and unambiguous. UII's are stored in the comprehensive UID Registry, which allows easy access to information such as acquisition cost and life-cycle data.
UID is best understood when viewed in steps. It will be appropriate for your company to utilize some or all of the UID Compliance Steps, depending upon a number of variables, including number of items you are required to mark and whether you are a prime contractor with end item deliverables or a custodian of GFP or legacy equipment.
MIL-STD-130 requires that all qualifying end item deliverables, government furnished property in possession of contractors (PIPC), and legacy items must be marked with a machine readable 2D Data Matrix Bar Code. Whether you decide to use a durable polyester label or a direct part mark technology such as laser etch, dot peen, ink jet or chemical etch, the bar code must meet printing or marking specifications.
ISO 15415 and SAE AS9132 requires that all 2D Data Matrix bar codes meet these verification standards for mark quality. The metrics for measuring the quality of 2D Data Matrix bar codes are chosen based upon the bar code generating process such as printing or direct part marking.
ISO 15434 requires that all 2D Data Matrix bar codes meet the standards set for syntax and formatting such as message header, non-printable characters, and identifiers.
UID Guide v1.5 and internal best business practice requires that all qualifying items with UIDs should be scanned and tracked when taken into custody. If you are a prime contractor, the UID and acquisition data will be required for submission to the UID Registry. Submission is also required when you become a custodian of personal property such as legacy or GFP. (Note: this is not a required step, but essential to best practice for seamless compliance.)
MIL STD 130 requires the submission of the UID data to the UID Registry and WAWF. This data must be in the correct electronic format whether it is submitted directly or through the WAWF and UID Registry web sites.
RFID is either a passive (unpowered) or active (powered) transmitter/receiver that stores information on the case or pallet in which UIIs are placed. The RFID tag may store the unique item numbers for the items in the case or pallet or simply a different unique packaging number that when accessed in a transportation or logistics database provides an inventory of the items in the case or pallet.
Following the UID requirement the DoD announced their RFID labeling requirement as a part of MIL-STD-129P. This standard provides detailed requirements on when and where to apply RFID labels. RFID labels are required on containers, shipping containers and pallets as part of the requirement. The RFID requirements allow suppliers to use either EPCglobal tag encoding standards if the supplier is a member of EPCglobal or to use the DoD’s royalty free GRAI encoding standard otherwise.
Both standards require the data embedded in each label to be included in Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) document submissions. These submissions can be done manually by entering the required data directly into the DoD WAWF web site, or they can be automated via electronic submission of the proper DoD electronic file format. The data is also required to be included in a paper copy of the DD250 that accompanies the materials if this is required as part of the contract.