In the age we live in, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of physics with the technologies and inventions we create. Events such as the deepest submarine dive, that reached an astonishing 10,991 metres, have lead to the need for highly certified materials to be used on certain projects. With regards to a submarine, only the highest grades of material can be used in order to maintain the safety of all crew aboard. This type of requirement is what lead to the birth of Lot, Batch and Serial number traceability.

What are the differences between a Lot, Batch & Serial number you ask? To put it simply, Lot and Batch numbers refer to raw materials, whereas serial numbers refer to a unique identification number that is assigned to each individual item. When referring to materials from a Lot or a Batch, we are referring to the fact that they have been made from the same raw resource or on the same production run. The reason for having the ability to associate both a Lot & Batch number to a raw material is that you may have an internal reference and external reference for the same item. Your supplier may declare that it is from Batch 123 but internally you may refer to it as Lot 456. When you order the same materials from various different suppliers, this can become very important.

The reason for having such traceability is to ensure they are of the same quality. For example, this can be essential when referring to items of colour like paint. You may have a blue that was produced in two separate batches. In theory they should be the same blue, but that is then assuming that the mix and all of the products and processes it consists of are 100% accurate on every production run, and the chances of it being a perfect match are pretty low. In turn, finished items that are going to be situated within close proximity when complete are often required to have been produced using the same colour batch so there is no noticeable discrepancy.

Once an item has been complete it can be associated with a serial number. Serial numbers are often completely unique and offer the traceability to be able to see what was exactly used to produce that item. For example, cars often have a type of serial number in the form of a VIN number. These are completely unique so no two cars will have the same reference. With this detail you can find out exactly which components, along with their original sources, were used to manufacture that specific car. If components are then in need of replacing, it is easy to see which specification is required.

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