I realize this is an old post, but I'd try saving the component that you want to duplicate as a Symbol by dragging it into the Symbol palette.
Symbols can be simple, or complex, or pretty much anything that can open in Illustrator.
If there are any elements, like serial numbers or whatever that need to be different, you wouldn't include them in the symbol. You would just group them with the symbol on the artboard.
Then you just duplicate the symbol as many times as you need to, on the artboard.
If you ever need to make any adjustments to the symbol, you just double-click on it, make the edit, then double-click off it, and the edit will propagate throughout every instance of that symbol.
So, if you're making a map and you have 40 instances of a tent symbol, you just edit one of them and all of the other ones will update.
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