Military Labeling Standards: What Is MIL-STD-130?

Noelle Daigle

Nov, 24 November, 2022

When selling any kind of product to the United States Department of Defense, it’s important to have a full understanding of military labeling standards like MIL-STD-130, otherwise known as Identification Marking of U.S. Military Property. In this guide, we’ll explain what MIL-STD-130 is and how it works.

What Is MIL-STD 130?

MIL-STD-130, or Identification Marking of U.S. Military Property, is simply a standard that provides instruction on how to mark or label items that are sold to the DoD. For example, when it comes to labeling for military cases and containers, it’s important for manufacturers or distributors to adhere to the MIL-STD 130 marking standard.

The standard covers, in detail, all of the various aspects of marking and labeling for DoD products, including text fonts, sizes, formats, syntax, and even the location of markings and barcodes on each item. It sets out clear and easy-to-follow rules for companies to follow whenever for military labeling standards.

mil std 130 marking

What Are the MIL-STD 130 Marking Standards?

The specifics of MIL-STD-130 marking and military labeling standards can be quite complicated. At a basic level, it’s vital for all items to be marked with an Item Unique Identification, or IUID. This is a 2D Data Matrix barcode containing information that is relevant to the item being scanned, and this code is used by the DoD to track information about that item.

In addition, MIL-STD-130 also covers the various materials and marking methods that can be used for labels, markings, and plates. It goes into great detail regarding things like the type of font and the size of the text that can be used, as well as the appropriate placement of the IUID as mentioned above.

What Are the Barcode Requirements?

According to MIL-STD 130, all barcodes on military UID labels must meet certain levels of quality. They must pass a verification process and achieve at least a grade B, and they must be permanent. This means that the codes need to be tough and resistant enough to withstand a range of environmental conditions and cleaning procedures that the item might be subject to.

What Is the Minimum Size of Allowed Information?

MIL-STD-130 states that the minimum text height for DoD markings and military standard labels is 0.2 cm, (0.08 inches). In addition, all text should be written entirely in capitals in a sans-serif font like Arial or Trebuchet MS. Any numbers that are present need to be provided in Arabic font.

What if There Is Limited Space for Information?

If you only have limited space to work with for military standard labels on a particularly small item, you need to at least include the most important pieces of information. This includes the Enterprise Identifier, or EID, the serial number of the item in question, and the part or lot number relevant to that product.

mil std 130

What Are the MIL-STD 130-Accepted Tag and Label Marking Methods?

According to the MIL-STD 130 marking standard, there are only certain methods that may be used to make markings for tags and military UID labels that are attached to military products. All of the marking methods accepted by MIL-STD-130 are strong, reliable processes that leave permanent UID military markings on each tag or label to deal with military conditions, but some may be more effective and efficient than others depending on several factors.

The right marking method for each item depends on the material type (metal, composite, plastic), size, and nature of the item in question, as well as how it will be used and what kind of environments it could be exposed to.

The following methods are accepted for military UID labels in accordance with MIL-STD 130N labels:

  • Laser Engraving
  • Laser Marking
  • Dot Peening
  • Photo Anodizing
  • Abrasive Blasting
  • Rotary Engraver
  • Acid Etching
  • Metal Stamping

A More Robust Alternative for Polyolefin Thermoplastic Military Products: The Advantages of Polymer Fusion Labeling Technology

Polyfuze Fusion Labeling Technology is the only truly permanent labeling solution for military products manufactured from polyolefin thermoplastics. Polyfuze labeling exceeds military labeling standards and has a range of benefits, including:

Sustainable – Polymer Fusion Labeling is 100% recyclable and helps to reduce the amount of waste and scrap associated with other labeling methods.
Productive – Polymer Fusion Labeling is fast and efficient, increasing production yields.
Cost-effective – Polymer Fusion Labeling is also cost-effective, reducing the amount you have to spend on materials, labor, and additional labeling caused by waste and label failure.
Durability – MIL-STD 130 is all about durability and the ability of labeling to endure a myriad of climates and exposures. In order for military equipment to be effectively tracked and traced throughout its life use, the labeling must be permanently affixed to the military item and permanently durable so that the item and label stay together as one unit.

Where to Obtain MIL-STD 130 Tags and Labels?

If you plan to produce or sell military-grade products to the DoD, it’s absolutely vital to make use of tags and labels that comply with the standards and guidelines laid out in MIL-STD 130. But where can you find relevant tags and labels that meet those conditions?

It’s important to buy military UID labels from trusted and reliable providers who understand the specifics of MIL-STD 130 marking and military labeling standards in general, and know how to use the most appropriate marking methods and materials to get the best results. Contact our experts today to learn more about polymer fusion labeling.

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