Tips for Understanding UID

Metalcraft UID Labels

No doubt about it, IUID can be very confusing, especially when you don't deal with it every day. We want to provide you with a clear definition of IUID and some helpful tips to make dealing with it easier.

What is IUID and What do I need to know?

IUID or Item Unique Identification, is a Department of Defense mandate that requires a globally Unique Item Identifier to track items throughout their lifecycle. The IUID mark must last the lifetime of the asset.What is IUID and What do I need to know?

in addition, IUID is a systematic approach to uniquely identifying and tracking tangible assets throughout their lifecycle. It involves assigning a distinct identifier, typically a combination of alphanumeric characters or a barcode, to individual items. This identifier provides a digital fingerprint for the item, facilitating precise identification and traceability across various stages, including production, maintenance, and disposal.

Implementing IUID improves asset visibility, accountability, and management efficiency for organizations. This allows for streamlined inventory processes, better maintenance tracking, and compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Ultimately, IUID aims to optimize asset management practices and enhance operational effectiveness across diverse sectors and supply chains.


Tip #1 - 2D doesn't always equal UID, but UID always equals 2D

If this statement sounds confusing to you - don't worry, you are not alone. Understanding the relationship between the 2D bar code and UID is an important step in becoming more comfortable with UID as a whole.

A 2D DataMatrix barcode is a type of barcode similar to Code 39 or Code 128. A 2D DataMatrix barcode is like Code 39 or Code 128. Companies choose this barcode when they have a lot of data or limited space.

Consequently, a 2D Data Matrix barcode doesn't always equal a UID. The DoD Guide to Uniquely Identifying Item states that the 2D barcode is their preferred symbology. This means that the 2D barcode is essentially the UID, regardless of the information it contains.

Tip #2 - Construct 1 vs. Construct 2

OK, you have a choice - do you want to use Construct 1 or Construct 2 for your UID tags? The differences between these two are pretty easy to identify. It all has to do with the elements used to construct the UID and how they are serialized within that construct.

Let's start with the similarities first. Both Constructs contain the EID (Enterprise Identifier). Common EIDs are Cage Code and DUNS Number. Both Constructs also contain a serial number. For Construct 1 that's it - Enterprise Identifier and serial number. For Construct 2 there is an additional element - the original part number.

Basically it just adds an additional level of serialization; instead of being serialized within the Enterprise ID (like Construct 1), UIDs using Construct 2 are serialized within the original part number. That's it - pretty simple, right? Opinions differ as to which one is best so it's best to examine which one works better in your specific situation.

Tip #3 - Validation vs. Verification

All IUIDs should be both validated and verified. Easy to say, right? But what exactly does that mean? Is there a difference? What comes first? These two concepts sound very similar, but in actuality, mean very different things.

Validation refers to the elements contained within the 2D bar code for UID. For example, are the correct data identifiers used (i.e., 17V, CAG, etc.)? Do the separate elements have the correct number of characters (i.e., Cage Code)? Are there any illegal characters being used?IUID Cable Label

Validation occurs when the UID is constructed or concatenated and special software (i.e. A2B's UC!Web) must be used in order to "validate" the information.

Verification, on the other hand, refers to the quality of the actual 2D symbol. Does it even read? Does the 2D bar code meet the required print standards for the respective type of marking (i.e., labels, nameplates, DPM)? Regardless of whether the bar code contains UID information or not, the bar code should be verified to ensure the information can be read.

Remember - you must also register your UIDs to be totally UID compliant.

If you have more questions about barcodes, contact us today at [email protected].

Marianne Alvarado

About the Author: Marianne Alvarado

Marianne Alvarado is our Vice President of Sales. Alvarado joined Metalcraft in March of 2000 as a Territory Specialist, became Sales Manager in January 2022 and was named Vice President of Sales during August of 2023. She leads both the Outside and Inside Sales teams. Marianne lives in Davenport with her husband, Dave Beeman. 

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