Functional Guide to Military Identification Marking

Military identification marking has relevance to any company which sells goods to the U.S. Military, as well as any company that wishes to mark its products using the same high standard of excellence set forth in the MIL STD 130 guidelines. This set of standards describes the materials which may be used for marking goods sold to the Department of Defense, as well as the specific fonts, text sizes, and formats which are allowable on the tags or labels which identify military equipment.

The marking standard also calls for these products to be labeled with a barcode which makes for instant identification when the item is scanned, and this helps tremendously with knowing everything about the item's properties and capabilities. The barcode itself must pass a prescribed verification process, earning a grade of at least a 'B', and must be able to tolerate cleaning processes, as well as exposure to specific environments.

MIL STD 130 also requires that goods must be marked with both the required barcode format and human readable text for the sake of redundancy, and for easy readership if one or the other should become damaged or obscured.


Acceptable methods of marking

The method to be used for marking any particular product will generally be closely associated with the type of product it is, as well as its intended use and the environment which it will be used in. These environments might include anything from the extreme cold of an Alaskan military base, to the desert conditions of the Middle East or elsewhere. Here are some of the acceptable methods for marking such goods:

  • Laser engraving
  • Laser marking
  • Dot peening
  • Photo anodizing
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Rotary engraver
  • Acid etching
  • Metal stamping

You will notice that all of the marking methods above are very substantial processes, which will leave a permanent identifier on the tag or label to be affixed to any goods sold to the Military. That is exactly why these methods are the preferred ones, because everything about these marking tags must comply with the high standards of quality, so it will hold up under the extreme conditions which military equipment is often exposed to.


Proper marking standards

First of all, any goods sold to the Military must be marked with a stiff plastic or metal tag, which is either fastened securely to the item, or which has been applied directly to its surface. The location of the label or tag must be in an area where it can easily be read or scanned, unless this is for some reason impracticable. The marking itself must be able to withstand exposure to the environment where it will be used, and must also withstand any cleaning processes which are standard for that piece of equipment.

In cases where there is very limited space, such as when the item is very small and lacks the space for a normal-sized marking tag, it is allowable to mark the item with a minimum of information considered essential. For situations like this, the tag must include at least the following data items:

  • Serial number
  • Part number or the lot and batch number
  • Enterprise identifier (EID)


Size of marked information

It is strongly recommended in MIL STD 130 that all text be represented in a sans-serif font such as Futura, Arial, or Trebuchet MS. The text letters should be in all capital letters, and should have a height of .08 inches, .2 centimeters, or 6 points of font size. Any numbers contained on the marking must be represented in Arabic font, and should have the same height as the text in the marking.


Where to obtain MIL STD 130 tags and labels

Whatever your reason for needing MIL STD 130 grade tags and labels you can always rely on us to meet the stringent requirements of the U.S. Military. Since 1968, this company has been producing high-quality nameplates and tags, and has adapted them for compliance with military standards. This means you can count on al military required identification to be durable and able to withstand the stresses of the environment where they will be used.

The experience, knowledge, and reliability provided by our company will help you successfully meet your needs. Contact us today with any inquiries you might have, or to obtain a quote for any particular job you have in mind.