In 2004, the US Government instituted a policy requiring purchases that meet a particular criteria to be tagged with an IUID marking. In order to set some guidelines for this program, MIL-STD-130 was provided as a guideline for accepted format and marking methods. Unfortunately, this lengthy document written in technical jargon can complicate the requirements. But fear not! This article is intended to help guide you through the basics of providing UID compliant markings.
At its core, the UID program was designed to establish a world-wide tracking system for the equipment that the US Government has purchased. It is similar to a standard asset tracking program: A unique barcode & serial number is attached to an item that when scanned, links back to a database containing information on said item. The UID program, however, requires that certain data elements be used in the markings and stipulates how the data must be formatted.
Before we look into the data required for a UID compliant marking, let’s first discuss some basic elements of this program:
- IUID stands for “Item Unique Identifier” and is interchangeable with UID, Unique Identifier, and Unique Identfication Marking.
- An IUID marking is a unique string of data that identifies one, and only one, piece of equipment. We will discuss the make-up of the actual marking in just a bit.
- If you are required to provide a UID label, please run through your contract for all applicable requirements. Some contracts will only make quick mention that a UID is required, and others may go so far as to provide an engineered drawing for the markings. If the former option is listed, please read on for guidelines in constructing your UIDs.
What data is required for the UID marking?
There are 2 data elements required for every UID marking – they are:
- Enterprise Identifier (EID): A government provided number specific to the agency issuing the items. The CAGE code is the most commonly used EID, but a DUNS number is acceptable as well.
- Serial Number: A unique number provided to one item only. The purpose of the serial numbers is to keep the item unique, so once an EID and serial number combination have been used together, they are not to be repeated on future products. The serial numbers can be chosen in a standard sequence (e.g., 001 thru 100) or the actual serial number from each piece of equipment requiring the UID marking.
If only using these 2 data fields for the label, you would end up with what is known as a Construct 1 label. In some cases, a Part Number field can be added to further the uniqueness of the final label. When the EID, Part#, and Serial# are all used together, you then have a Construct 2 label.
What format should I use?
The 2 most common formats used in UID markings are Format 06 and Format 12. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Format 06 utilizes Data Identifier (DI) indicators for the UID encoded data.
- Format 12 utilizes Text Element Identifiers (TEI) indicators for the UID encoded data.
In general, either format will be acceptable for any application, unless your contract states a required format.
Hopefully this article has cleared up a few questions regarding the UID marking program. If you have any additional questions, or are interested in acquiring pre-printed UID labels from an experienced UID provider, please contact Express Corp. We’d love to help you with all of your labeling needs!