Let’s say you have just received a contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to produce a large batch of equipment. You might be thinking ahead, picturing the completed order lined up in your warehouse, ready to ship.
It also might be wise to think about the UID labels on each piece of equipment — and where those labels will go over the life of those items.
The UID labels contain a Unique Identifier that is required for each piece of equipment as specified in DoD’s MIL-STD-130. The identifier, which is in the form of a 2-D Data Matrix barcode, allows the military to track the asset throughout its lifetime. This helps streamline inventory management and improve combat readiness.
Automated readers are used to scan the Data Matrix and translate the pattern into usable information. The Data Matrix can only do its job if it is readable. That means the MIL-STD-130 marking must be extremely durable to last the potentially decades-long life of the equipment. The labels might encounter harsh environmental conditions such as extreme heat or cold. And of course they’re subject to wear and tear as the equipment is put into use. Placement of the label in a relatively protected area can help in this regard. Applying a protective coating over the MIL-STD-130 marking not only protects against scuffs and dirt, but also may prevent damage from light or chemicals.
The method used to attach the label to the equipment is also an issue. Adhesives can degrade over time, creating a risk that the label will fall off. If a rigid adhesive is used, the attachment may fail due to different amounts of expansion and contraction of the adhesive and the surface as temperatures fluctuate. A flexible adhesive may be a better choice.
With so many factors to consider, contractors might want to turn to an expert in the area of MIL-STD-130 marking for help. Jet City Laser Inc. offers a wide variety of UID labels to suit nearly any application. Stainless steel, aluminum and polyester are just some of the label materials available.
They’ll also ensure that the labels pass the important IUID verification step — a measure that grades the quality of the data matrix symbol after it’s produced. Jet City labels are 100% verified. When circumstances call for bypassing a label and applying the UID mark directly onto the equipment, Jet City can help there as well.
Learn more about Jet City Laser at their website, www.uid2go.com.
Mike Young is a plant manager at a company in Kent, Ohio. He takes pride in his work and enjoys working with others on a daily basis. From this job, he has gathered a wealth of knowledge, including important information about UID verification and labels, such as those provided by Jet City Laser at UID2GO.com.
Are your UID labels tough enough?