Barcodes and UID Plates: FAQs about UIDs Plates and Stickers

Barcodes and UID Plates

What exactly is a UID used for? How do machines read these UID plates and Barcodes? When did we start using these machine readable codes? There are a lot of questions about barcodes and UID plates that people tend to ask when they first encounter these, so we will try to tackle a few of these here.

What is a UID Code? – A UID code is a tracking system that is used globally and is the code used for hard products. This code is used to help ensure that people who either sell these products or buy them have machine readable information about the item in the form of a compact unit that is durable and useful.

In what form should a UID come in? – UIDs can come in either a sticker form or in a metal plate form, depending on what it will be used on. The choice of material for this will often depend on what item it is to be affixed to and the usage of that particular item.

Since UID tags need to be usable and readable by machines or scanners the entire time that the item it is used on is utilizable, it should be durable enough to withstand whatever conditions the item will be subjected to. These can be attached with the use of adhesives, welded to the product or riveted on, depending again on the item it is to be used on and its use.

What information goes on a UID plate or sticker? – A UID tag should have the item’s name, its product or part identification number and the name of the manufacturer on it. Most UID codes come in the form of two dimensional codes, which differs from the usual linear barcode that you see on consumer products. These usually come in a square form as compared with the rectangular shape of linear barcodes.

Why use UIDs and not regular barcodes? - A 2D barcode is used for this particular purpose because these can store more data (100 times more) than your regular linear barcodes. This data can also be read by machines in any direction and can be scaled to fit specific applications. UIDs can also be read and can provide machine readable data even when the code appears to be damaged.

Where are these UID codes used? – UID codes are used on items that are, according to the US Department of Defense, mission essential equipment, costs around $5,000 to acquire, consumable or controlled inventory.