Simple MIL-STD-129 Label Solution

We’ve been providing solutions for printing compliant MIL-STD-129 labels for years. These are based around our set of BarTender label templates and our solution is basically the same hardware and software we use here – we also print and encode barcode and RFID labels for DoD contractors who don’t want to print the labels themselves.

MIL-STD-129 Labels

Since several people have asked about a simple low cost solution in the last week or so, I thought it might be helpful to go over our basic solution. Honestly, there are a lot of other great printers and other items that can do this job – this is just what I use personally, so it is really easy for me to help our customers get going.

Barcode Label Software

I use BarTender and suggest getting BarTender Automation. There are a lot of great label software packages out there (I really like NiceLabel as well) and I’m sure all of them can produce MIL-STD-129 labels as well as BarTender.

However, some years ago I designed our first set of MIL-STD-129 label templates in BarTender and they have worked well for me ever since.

RFID Label Printer – Datamax M-Class

Datamax M-Class RFID PrinterLike  the software, there are multiple brands of good label printers that can handle the printing and RFID of MIL-STD-129. The M-Class is a really nice mid-range printer with a good cost/performance ratio. For DoD applications, I like to use the 300 DPI, M-4308, which has high enough resolution to be used for a lot of MIL-STD-130 UID labeling jobs too.

If a really high output of labels is needed, then the Datamax H-Class or Zebra Xi4 might be a good alternative. I’m also planning to check out Zebra’s tiny ZD500R RFID printer which looks as though it might be perfect for low volume DoD jobs, at a really competitive price.

One thing I like with the Datamax printers is that they have a very forgiving spec for the position of the RFID inlay in the label – a feature that has proven to be helpful many times.

RFID Reader

Although the label printer does a good job of verifying that the RFID labels are correctly encoded, it is a good idea to be able to read back the data afterwards – indeed, your DCMA QA rep might insist on you showing that the RFID label is actually working when it is fixed on your packaging.

There are a number of fixed and handheld readers that can do this job. In our office we use an old (but DS9808-R RFID Readerreliable) Symbol MC9090 reader. The later additions to this family are still very good, but are something of an overkill in a lot of cases.
We’ve been using the Motorola DS9808-R with several of our customers and it seems to do a good job. This is an interesting device since it is the only handheld barcode scanner that can read RFID tags as well.

It needs to be tethered to a computer and also needs a power supply to power the RFID reader/encoder. If you can live with this limitation, the DS9808-R just might be the low cost RFID reader you’ve been looking for.

Here at ID Technology we have a lot of ways we help defense contractors with labeling for MIL-STD-129 and MIL-STD-130. Regardless of whether you work at one of the biggest contractors and need a completely integrated solution or if you just need a few compliant RFID labels for a shipment – ID Technology is your partner.

There are a lot of ways a simple MIL-STD-129 labeling solution can be put together – what do you use?

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