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Adding Serialization to Your Design


Identification can be important in many walks of life, and it can also be really vital in custom manufacturing. Adding serialization to your design as means of identification can go a long way in proper tracking, as well as preventing theft and other fraudulent activity.

What is Serialization?

Serialization in manufacturing is the process of adding unique serial numbers and text for identification on your parts, panels, or enclosures. This can help you achieve traceability and prevent counterfeiting, while also assisting with warranty, maintenance, and product recall.

At Protocase, we have several processes that can add serial numbers as part of our custom manufacturing.

Laser Marking

A popular method for serialization is laser marking. It is an ultra-precise, efficient means of permanent marking that offers an enormous amount of versatility. The types of laser marking we offer are engrave, burn, silver, outline, ablate and anneal.

Engrave and Fill

Next is engrave and fill. True to the title, this process involves machine engraving or laser marking a part and then filling those sections with ink. This process is available only on aluminum, and for best results, we recommend white or black ink fill, depending on the finish of your parts.

A part undergoing the engrave and fill process
A part undergoing the engrave and fill process

Machined Engraving

Machined engraving, also known as machined etching, can be used to mark identification codes onto your parts, generally over a flat section of your parts. On the other hand, it could lead to distortion if applied on a bent line.

Aluminum, stainless or cold rolled steel enclosures and parts can be engraved using our high-speed 3-axis vertical CNC milling machine.

Dot Peening

Another method used to achieve permanent marking is dot peening. In this process, markings are dot peened onto each part after it is cut, but before it is bent, to prevent distortion.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, then we’d recommend dot peening! On the other hand, laser marking and machined engraving generally provide better aesthetics.

Dot peening can be used to add logos, symbols, or artwork, as well as marking in a variety of fonts and sizes, so it is the more flexible option.

Rubber Stamping

Rubber stamping is a popular permanent part marking method for serialization, with stamps creating letter and number combinations. Then, the stamp is applied directly onto an enclosure or part using permanent ink.

Rubber Stamping is an effective method to achieve serialization

Avery Labels

Avery labels are a less permanent serialization option. First, we print the serial number that you require on a label. Then, we apply the label to your part or the outermost section of your part.

Silkscreening and Digital Printing

Silkscreening and digital printing are the two ink printing techniques we provide. The former is best for graphics with a limited number of colors. When one graphic has high amounts of detail or multiple colors, digital print is the superior option.

We have a single-page guide to help you differentiate between silkscreening and digital printing, get it here.

Submitting a Serialization Request

If you want to include a serial number with your design, you need to ensure that you get the message across to your Account Manager. Once they receive your request, they will help you through the process.

We ask that you clearly indicate the need for serialization on the drawing or note (PDF) that accompanies the drawing. While doing so, please also specify:

  • Starting number or number range
  • Quantity
  • Specific location of the characters
  • Format


To conclude, adding serial numbers is a great way to ensure your parts and enclosures have identification.

If you require serialization on custom metal parts, panels or enclosures, Protocase is your ideal option. Our unique custome manufacturing process offers ultra-fast lead times of 2-3 day, with no minimum order.

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