Determining what defense equipment needs a Unique Identifier

 The first question a defense contractor might ask when it comes to marking equipment produced for the military with a Unique Identifier(UID) is, what items need to be marked? In general, the equipment must be marked if the DoD’s acquisition cost is $5,000 or more for each item. But there are also some cases in which assets costing less than $5,000 must be marked.

The product’s buyer will look at the less costly items on a case-by-case basis to determine if they’re mission-essential, controlled inventory items for which life-cycle traceability is essential. Any requirement for UID marking will be included in the supplier’s contract.

The DoD provides guidance on item identification in various documents; these can be accessed through ID-Integration.com, a website that has a wealth of useful information on equipment marking.

The unique identifier is applied to the equipment in the form of a 2-D Data Matrix, a machine-readable bar code that contains information such as the issuing agency code, enterprise identifier, the serial number and in some cases, the lot or batch number. As its name implies, the unique identifier is unique to a single piece of equipment. No other item will have the same identifier. The identifier stays with the equipment throughout its life. The identifiers are uploaded into a database, where records can be kept of an item’s history and easily retrieved when needed.

DoD standards cover specifics including where the mark should be placed, how large it should be and where it should be placed on the item. Again, further information on these topics can be found at ID-Integration.com.

Also at ID-Integration.com are details of different methods that can be used to apply the data matrix symbol to the equipment. These range from direct-marking methods, such as chemical etching, to indirect marking using labels. A wide range of labeling material is available. The over-riding consideration should be whether the Data Matrix will last the life of the equipment and withstand environmental conditions the asset will experience.

Determining when in the production process the UID label should be applied is another decision that must be made. And finally, the data matrix symbol must be verified. Hardware and software are used to grade its readability to help ensure it will last the life of the asset. Working with experts in unique identification, such as those at ID Integration Inc., can make the process go much more smoothly and save time and money for a contractor.

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RFID Provides Benefits to Numerous Industries

  Today, there are a wide range of benefits for RFID technology to provide advantages to a large variety of business sectors.  For example, imagine the potential benefit of companies using this innovative form of Automated Data Capture in major industry, law enforcement, transportation, among many other uses.  This number continues to grow as this technology evolves to become more intelligent, more affordable, and versatile.

RFID enables drivers to quickly zip through a toll booth when equipped with a prepaid pass. This works well because one of the primary advantages of RFID, is in the fact that this technology does not require line of sight for detection devices to sense a radio signal. In fact, throughout much of the United States, many transit systems have adopted the convenient RFID fast passes to permit toll road passengers to travel faster through turnstiles instead of swiping a special card or paying cash for toll.

Other industries are also putting RFID to good use. In some industries, smart manufacturers use this technology in their production for enhanced tracking of products and parts as they are manufactured or distributed throughout a facility.  Additionally, even some major retail corporations, like Wal-Mart, are now requiring some suppliers to implement the use of RFID tags on all pallets or cases shipped to improve inventory management processes.

For those who wish to learn more about the benefits of this technology, it is highly recommended that they seek an experienced RFID integrator.  Implementing RFID technology doesn’t mean that existing tracking and identification solutions need to be thrown out – however, there is strategy to how these processes are linked together and how they affect the production process for the most productivity and efficient, automatic data capture.  A seasoned RFID systems integrator will understand the best methods for utilizing these technologies together at a manufacturing or distribution facility.

It’s true that RFID is not simply for the aviation industry.  In 2013 and beyond there will be increased demand for this innovative technology involving manufacturers and corporations from a wide range of business sectors.  There is substantial proof that the aviation industry has experienced great efficiency and improvement through the implementation of RFID to meet the standards of the Air Transport Association’s Spec 2000 through ATA Spec 2000 RFID.

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TegoView streamlines ATA Spec 2000 RFID compliance

The Air Transport Association’s Spec 2000 standards call for labeling of aircraft parts so they can be tracked throughout their lifetime. RFID is an increasingly popular method of doing this, as the tags can be read with an automated reader without a direct line of site to the tag. The tags are durable and can withstand a range of environments. In addition, RFID tags are available with different amounts of memory. The high-memory tags in particular are able to contain more information than other types of labels. ATA Spec 2000contains a number of details that must be followed in using these RFID systems, including entering specified data onto the tag in a prescribed format.

TegoView software can help simplify ATA Spec 2000 RFID compliance. In fact, Tego worked with other aerospace industry leaders to help develop ATA Spec 2000 RFID standards.

TegoView software works with a wide range of RFID readers including hand-held models. The software can be used from the very first step in the RFID tagging process. Even before the tag is affixed to the part, TegoView will record the part’s “birth record” onto the tag — information known at the time of the part’s manufacture. Later, maintenance updates can be written to the tag. Part information can be read and recorded in the field using a hand-held RFID reader equipped with TegoView — a network connection is not required. Yet TegoView can also be integrated into existing data systems.

Saving money, improving efficiency

The need for expensive “middleware” software is eliminated with TegoView. And because maintenance crews have immediate access to detailed part history, decisions about the part can be made quickly, which also saves time and money for an organization. For airlines, flight delays may be reduced and customer satisfaction increased.

TegoView software can report changes in a part’s condition, modification to the part, change in custody and removal from service. It can also indicate how much of a tag’s memory has been used and how much is still available. Parts can be searched for and located using information from their history. Another TegoView benefit is that the software can generate pre-configured automated reports. Built-in diagnostic features are also provided.

RFID solutions that incorporate TegoView lead to better asset management and lower inventory costs. Maintenance and repair is streamlined and less costly. And at the same time, Spec 2000 requirements are met much more easily.

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