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Why Are Machine Serial Numbers and Identification Plates Important?

August 29, 2017

Often when you contact your Service or Parts Department, you will be asked for your equipment’s serial number. At times this creates frustration as more often than not it’s on the machine and you aren’t anywhere near it.

So, why is it needed, what information is available to service providers on the Identification Plate, and where do I find it?

Serial Numbers are a unique number that identifies a specific machine. This information will supply the following information to your service provider:

  • The build specification of that machine which will identify what items or any optional items that were fitted at the factory. Sometimes this is referred to as a “Machine Card”.
  • Date of Manufacture, sometimes this is only a date range rather than a specific date.
  • Original specification, for example, if the machine was built for a specific market such as Australia, Europe or USA.
  • The Series of the machine.

How do Serial Numbers Help?

Serial numbers are the best way to ensure that you are getting the right parts for maintenance or repairs. They allow the Dealer to access the Manufacturer’s systems; check the original specification and what items were fitted to that machine at the time it was built.

Parts used in manufacture can vary based on serial number range, which factory the machine was built in, country of origin, customers specific order requirements or the optional equipment that may have been ordered prior to manufacture.

Even where the model “looks” the same as another, it can be a completely different story under its surface, as it might be made up of completely different parts.

Where Can I find the Serial Number?

Most manufacturers use more than one method for marking machines with Serial Numbers. Generally, it will be stamped into the machine frame or chassis plus a printed Identification Plate will be located in a reasonably accessible position.

Some manufacturers place a separate sticker with the serial number in a prominent spot, making it easy for you to find when you need it.

Identification Plates

Identification plates usually state the manufacturer and serial number along with information such as year of manufacture, series and model number. An Identification Plate is normally the easiest way to get the information that you need.

Identification plates can be located behind the operator seat, on bulk heads or inside the engine bay but there is no specific position for these to be mounted.

Some major components have their own identification plates and serial numbers, so make sure you gather the relevant information for the whole machine.

Make the Information Readily Available

A great way to keep this essential information at your fingertips it is to take a photo of the Identification Plate with your phone. That way it’s easily available when you need it.

Of course, a relationship with your equipment dealer will assist in them having your machine details on file along with its specifications, which can help save you time on parts ordering and could save the hassle of getting the wrong items.

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