Understanding the Different Types of Security Seals

The risk of theft and criminal energy grows with the value of goods being transported and the demands of security required increases in turn. The following points influence the policy of designing high quality Security Seals:

  1. They should indicate whether a locking device has already been opened. Tamper resistance (or evidence of tampering) by making manipulation nearly impossible, more difficult or at least time-consuming
  2. Adding tamper-evident features to visualize unauthorized manipulation of the device
  3. Resistance to substitution of component parts.
  4. Avoid accidental breaking of the seal in situations.

Why Use Security Seals?

  • To prevent opportunistic theft
  • To visualise manipulation attempt
  • To prevent contamination
  • To prevent trafficking of contraband
  • To prevent stowage of arms and explosives

These demands lead, as a rule, to the usage of seals made from a variety of components and materials. In conjunction with the customers’ logo, consecutive numbering, bar code, data matrix codes etc. ensuring that each seal is unique and cannot be substituted.

Plastic Material Type

These are manufactured using a special kind of plastic resin and are mainly used as an indicator of tampering or unauthorized entry. These are mainly designed as Pull-tight (variable length), Fixed length or Padlock Type seals.

Metal Material Type

Metal band / Metal Clip seals – Manufactured from a type of metal material and are generally used to provide barrier protection. They are preferably used with galvanised wires.

Bolt seals – These offer the highest level of barrier protection and are manufactured in two metal parts that are designed to fit together via a locking mechanism.

Cable seals – These consist of a galvanised steel cable which is fixed at one end into the locking mechanism of the seal body.

Re-usable Security Seals – These consist of a main re-usable body which can be sealed with a single use seal.

Electronic Seals – These are typically reusable and generates a unique time, date and number each time the seal is closed and opened. These help in registering and recording all events.

Tamper Evident Labels – These can be physically stuck to a surface and gives the user the option of leaving a residue, disintegrating, and/or displaying an indication of attempted removal or tampering.

Choosing the right Security Seal for the job

The following factors determine the choice of the appropriate seal for a particular role:

1. What type of unit (bar trolley, container, bag, vehicle, door, tote box, ATM cassette, electricity meter etc.) is to be sealed?

2. Under what ambient temperature conditions will it be used?

3. What duration will it be fixed onto the unit?

4. Are you looking for an easy removable seal or a barrier seal?

5. For how long will the unit be left unsupervised?

6. How valuable are contents?

7. Which type of numerical system is required for the application (sequential or random)?

8. Must the serial number be electronically readable? Which type of bar code is to be used?

9. What are the logistical requirements? (are various colours required?)