Barcoding Inc.

June 9th, 2009

UID Compliance Kits from Intermec

Previously, we discussed UID compliance and how to get it. However, complying with UID standards becomes more difficult when dealing with legacy assets because it is difficult to decipher how the UID symbol was originally printed.

By using an industrial rugged computer and software kit from Intermec to generate UID symbols and update the UID Registry, the system can create UID codes for many legacy items because it includes multiple marking and printing technologies capable of producing labels, data plates, and direct part marks. A multifunction laser marking system applies Data Matrix symbols directly to materials. In addition, the rugged industrial computer provides a convenient user interface, runs software to generate the UID Registry and other applications.

The complete UID system from Intermec includes the following:

CO2 Laser
The CO2 laser is included in the kit because it is ideal for supporting multiple methods for creating UID markings, particularly useful for legacy applications. In addition, it features laser coloring, laser engraving, and laser bonding.

Thermal-transfer Barcode/RFID Label Printer
The thermal-transfer barcode/RFID label printer included in the kit features the Intermec EasyCoderPM4i thermal transfer printer, with the ability to produce UID labels on polyester and foil material, in addition to producing barcode and RFID shipping labels that satisfy the MIL standards.

Rugged Windows XP Touch-screen Computer
The Intermec CV60 computer is used in the UID marking system, specifically designed for mounting on carts, forklifts and other mobile equipment used in industrial environments. It features:

  • 12.1-inch touchscreen display
  • Windows XP operating system
  • Intel processor
  • Secure 802.11b and g networking and configuration (optional)

Handheld Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Reader
The handheld OCR reader can be used to enter text information from labels and other documents and enter their information directly into the computer. The Reader is fast, easy to use, and reduces the probability of errors that occur when data is manually entered.

Handheld Barcode Reader
The kit includes the barcode reader reader, capable of reading Data Matrix and other leading barcode symbologies. The rugged scanner can easily withstand drops and has optional Bluetooth connectivity to the Intermec CV60 host computer.

System software and system platforms are also included with the kit, making it easy to become UID compliant in no time. For more information on the UID compliance kit from Intermec, inquire here.

June 8th, 2009

UID Compliance: What It Is & How to Get It

uid complianceUID, or Unique Identification, is a requirement of the Department of Defense (DoD), that requires all government property, contracts, and deliverables be marked with a unique number. The UID itself is a 2D data matrix barcode, comprised of the CAGE Code, Serial Number, and Part Number, all which can be encoded by laser mark, chemical etch, dot peen, or ink jet. Together, this information comprises the serialized identification number required by the DoD for efficient and secure data tracking.

In order to meet UID standards, which must meet MIL-STD130M standards, the first step is to print and mark all contracts, deliverables, and government property with the 2D matrix barcode. By using durable polyester, laser mark, chemical etch, dot peen, or ink jet, the markings will meet printing specifications and maintain quality.

In addition, syntax and formatting standards must be met in order to account for accurate scanning. Once scanned, all valid UIDs are tracked to item-specific locations and then registered. After this, the data is transferred to the UID Registry.

If all of this seems complicated, there’s a lot of companies out there willing to help those who seek UID compliance. If your interested in becoming UID compliant, you can learn more here.

August 22nd, 2008

A Closer Look at Data Matrix

Data Matrix is a high-density 2D barcode symbology that can encode characters, numbers, text and bytes of data.  Data Matrix is one of the smallest types of barcodes and is capable of encoding a large amount of data, making it the perfect choice for small item marking applications.  Data Matrix is also the symbol of choice for Unique Identification or UID marking because it can encode details such as manufacturer ID, serial number and part number.  According to AIM Global (Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility) specifications, Data Matrix can encode up to 2,335 alphanumeric characters.  The symbol is made up of dark and light square data modules and includes a finder pattern on the perimeter to help decode the data.

The newest version of Data Matrix, ECC200, supports advanced error checking and correction algorithms that increase the recognition of damaged barcodes.  In fact, the Reed-Solomon algorithm supports the recognition of barcodes that are up to 60% damaged.  Most barcode labeling software supports Data Matrix, including NiceLabel and BarTender.  Of course in order to read Data Matrix you must use a barcode imager that is capable of reading 2D symbols.  For more information about label software that supports Data matrix, or barcode imagers please contact me at ehodges@barcode.com.

August 14th, 2008

UID: Unique Identification

Unique Identification, or UID, assigns permanent and unique serial numbers to parts and components to provide accurate service and maintenance information to the Department of Defense.   In fact, more suppliers are being required by the DoD to apply UID marks at factories to ensure efficient tracking.  UID information is encoded in a Data Matrix 2D barcode like the one below because this symbol can encode required information in a very small space.  Data Matrix can also be read well in low-light conditions and when the symbol is obscured or damaged.  There are many methods for UID marking, including:

  • Direct Part Marking- the use of laser etching, dot peening, chemical etching, laser bonding, or ink jet printing to permanently place a symbol directly on an asset
  • Data Plates- plates are attached to assets with screws, adhesive or bolts
  • Adhesive Labels- typically labels made from polyester or foil are attached to assets with adhesive

UID marking has proven to be an effective way to reduce lost goods, save time in service and maintenance and streamline data.  Although the DoD is aggressively expanding their use of UID, it doesn’t help the millions of legacy assets already deployed that aren’t currently marked.  The Intermec white paper A Practical Approach to Applying UID Marks to Legacy Assets provides information about the solution that Intermec and the U.S. Coast Guard developed to meet the needs of legacy marking.

July 16th, 2008

AIDC Technical Institute 2008

I just found out about this great week long educational event at Ohio University, the Automatic Identification and Data Capture Technical Institute (AIDCTI).  But there isn’t much time, and they only have a few spots left for industry participants, so you’ll want to register now.  The 22ndannual AIDCTI will provide education about AIDC technologies and their applications, with hands-on lab time dedicated to AIDC technology.  This year, the AIDCTI will be focusing on barcoding, RFID, UID and more.  Labs include topics such as supply chain challenges and biometrics data capture.  Because of the hands-on nature of this event, participants will also become familiar with a variety of data capture tools from various manufacturers.  I really wish I had heard about this event sooner.  Sadly all of the spots for educational participants are full, but technical and business professionals in the industry still have a chance to attend.  This really sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to learn more about data capture, not to mention you get to use state of the art equipment.

What:  22nd annual Automatic Identification and Data Capture Technical Institute (AIDCTI)

When: July 20th-July 25th

Where: Ohio University

For more information about this event please visit AIDCTI 2008.  If you miss it this year keep in mind that this is an annual event, I know I will.