What are the security seals for?

Published on : 21 April 20206 min reading time

The security seal is not a recent invention. Its origin dates back to the empires of Mesopotamia and Egypt. At that time, they were used to seal tombs, protect the closure of a transport container or document. The seal must be intact to ensure that the records were not accessed or the goods were not tampered with. Since that time, the security seal has changed its form and can guarantee several areas. So what are security seals used for? What is its role now? Who uses them? What are the different types that may exist? And how is it chosen? To help you answer these questions, here is some information and advice.

What is a security seal?

A security seal is a mechanism used to seal an object to make it inaccessible or tamper-proof and to provide a level of security. It allows control over goods in transit. This locking device gives the possibility to detect fraudulent acts, theft or deliberate or accidental contamination. Indeed, the seal will be used as a witness of integrity. In order to guarantee this security, the process must be unique and irreplaceable. It can be customised and personalized with a logo, successive numbering, bar codes or data matrix codes… Each security seal is single-use, once it has been opened or cut, it can no longer be locked. This is how it constitutes a security assurance. However, there are also reusable security seals. These are mechanical and electronic seals. This device is suitable for several uses such as trailers, trucks, ship containers, air trolleys, drums and barrels, utility meters, luggage, boxes, cash bags, protective cages, sterile containers and tachographs, etc…

What is the role of the security seal?

As in ancient times, the security seal is nowadays used to guarantee the confidentiality of a document and to protect buildings or goods. This mechanism is designed to be damaged or destroyed if the package, place or device is attempted to be opened. In fact, it has a dual role. In the first case, the seal delays as long as possible the attempt to enter or open the closed object. The seal is then manufactured by very resistant products in order to guarantee the immunity of the seal. In the second case, the seal will be a tool for easy detection of a tiny attempt to open or tamper with the closed object. The mechanism used is then very fragile. This system is often used to guarantee the confidentiality of information or documents. It can also ensure the lack of money in a cash bag, for example. In this process, the seal must guarantee its uniqueness in order to ensure that the item has not been removed and then replaced by its counterpart.

Who uses the security seal?

The security seal concerns many sectors of activity, not to say that everyone can use it. The transport sector is the most well known sector that uses the security seal. The sealing of the trailer or truck is mandatory when moving goods internationally. A customs regulation formally requires it. When the truck is subject to a multimodal transport regime, i.e. road transport combined with air or sea transport, the goods are placed in containers. As a result, the cargo will be sealed to the standard required by law. In the industry in general, the security seal is also of great use. This mechanism will allow the securing of different kinds of packaging, while at the same time providing visual control of its tamper-proofness. This is quite valid in the pharmaceutical sector in order to ensure a certain level of quality of a product. Suppliers of electricity, water or gas also have to ensure that their measuring devices are not tampered with by attaching a security seal to the meters. To guarantee the security of certain evidence, the legal field affixes a security seal. This mainly concerns the prohibition of access to affected areas. And finally, the bank also uses a security seal to ensure the transport of cash from one location to another.

What are the different types of security seals?

There are several types of security seals. The metal seal which is made of strong cable and twisted metal wires, but also of a metal rod or metal chain. The closing of the metal seal is guaranteed by a sealing or by a tightening and locking mechanism with a very resistant anti-reverse. There are several models of this type of seal for maximum security. There is the seal and the security cable strap, as well as the bottle seal. There is also the plastic seal with progressive tightening, of fixed or adjustable length to adapt to several uses. It can take the form of fixing nails, but also bars and its closure is ensured by a self-locking device. This type of seal, to ensure its uniqueness, is marked with a barcode, company logo and sequential numbering. It is single-use as it is destroyed once it is removed. The security label seal is a special adhesive label or adhesive tape with a very high level of fastening so that an attempt to open it can be revealed. To indicate tampering, the label is personalised with holograms. There are three types in its kind. Fully transferable, partially transferable and non-transferable secure adhesive rolls.

How to choose the security seal?

Often the question arises. Which security seal for which use? Metal seals such as lead bottle seals are often used for sealing containers, trailers and trucks. This type of seal has to meet the security standard and comply with the request of the customs in order to allow international transport (sea and air) of containers. Cable seals are made to seal railcars or trucks carrying valuable goods. Strap seals are used to secure a truck.  On the other hand, plastic seals are used to secure a mail bag or a money carrier bag. It is also used to seal fire extinguishers, first aid kits and chemical barrels. The adjustable length seal is perfect for these cases.  In addition, the fixed length models are used in the transport field. To ensure maximum security, padlocks are used for additional sealing with the plastic seal. This technique is applied for overhead trolleys. The plastic seal is also used to protect electricity, water and gas meters. In this use, the seal is wetted in polycarbonate to leave a visibility on the locking device. And finally the security label seal is used to reinforce the packaging of goods or products while ensuring its authenticity.

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