The function and demands on Unisto Security Seals

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

  • Security seals should indicate whether a locking device has already been opened
  • Tamper resistance by making manipulation nearly impossible, more difficult or at least time-consuming 
  • Adding tamper-evident features to visualise unauthorized manipulation on the security seal 
  • Resistance to substitution of component parts 
  • Avoid accidental breaking of the seal in situ 

These demands lead, as a rule, to the use of seals made from a variety of components and materials. In conjunction with the customer logo, consecutive numbering, barcode, data matrix codes etc. ensures that each seal is unique and cannot be substituted. 

Seal Classification Overview

Indicative Security Seal 
Seal that is designed and manufactured of material that can easily be broken by hand or by using a simple snipping tool or shears. 

Security Seal 
Seal that is designed and manufactured of material that provides limited resistance to unauthorized access and requires lightweight tool for removal.

High Security Seals  
Seal that is designed and manufactured of material such as metal or metal cable with the purpose to delay intrusion. High security seals generally must be removed with heavy bolt cutters or cable cutters. 

The physical strength of the seals is determined by a Tensile, Shear, Bending, and Impact Test. 

Mechanical tests – for the classification of security seals, the following must be tested: 

  • a) Impact test: 
    To determine impact resilience at 18 °C and -27 °C, an impact test must be carried out.  The impact test takes place in three phases. In each phase, a defined force must be exerted on the seal five times (15 times in total). 
  • b) Pull test: 
    To test the strength of the closure mechanism of a seal, a pull test must be carried out. 
  • c) Bend test 
    To determine the resilience of a seal under a bending load, the bending test must be carried out (to determine the strength required to bend the seal by 90° within 3 seconds). 
  • d) Shear test: 
    To test the resilience of a seal to slicing with a cutting blade, such as bolt cutters, a shear test must be carried out. 

Important: All Security seals must be checked to indicate all sorts of manipulation. 

Types of Security Seal

Security Seal made of plastic material 
Plastic seals are manufactured from a plastic material and are mainly used as an indicator of tampering or unauthorised entry. Mainly designed as Pull-tight seal (variable length seal), Fixlength seal or Padlock Type seal. The choice of material is important depending on the application. 

Security Seal made of metal 

  • Metal band /Metal Clip seals  
    manufactured from a metal material are generally used to provide barrier protection. 
  • Bolt seals   
    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 
     consist of a steel cable which is fixed at one end into the locking mechanism of the seal body.  

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

Electronic seals  
Electronic seals are typically reusable. Generate a unique time, date and number each time the seal is closed and opened. Register and record all sealing and opening events. 

Tamper Evident Labels  
Tamper Evident labels can be physically stuck to a surface and give 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

Since many factors play a decisive role in determining the right security seal for the job, we believe that only expert advice from our security seal specialists can lead to the ideal security seal being chosen for a specific application. 

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

  • What type of unit needs to be sealed? For example: trucks, containers, cash boxes, utility meters, kegs, sacks, trolleys, doors, boxes, cases, caskets, pouches, etc. 
  • Under what ambient temperature conditions will the seals be used? 
  • How long will the security seal be fixed on the sealed unit? 
  • Are you looking for an easy removable seal or a barrier seal? 
  • For how long will the sealed unit be left unsupervised? 
  • How valuable are contents? 
  • Which type of number system is required for the application (sequential or random)? 
  • Must the serial number be electronically readable? Which type of barcode?
  • What are the logistical requirements? (are various colours required?) 

Our experienced Security team provide expert advice to suit your individual applications and requirements. 

Elements of an Effective Seal Program and Areas of Responsibility

Seal Manufacturers Responsibility 

  • Producing and shipping high quality Security Seals 
  • To guarantee physical strength and integrity of the Security seal 
  • To ensure unique marking and numbering 
  • Provide Tamper resistance and tamper evidence solutions 
  • Good Security practices before application - ISO 17712:2013 – annex A - Seal Manufacturers' Security-Related Practices 
  • Advice customers finding proper selection of the Security seal solution to fit to specific customer needs 

Customer and security seal user Responsibility 

  • Inspect your seals on receipt (type, colour, marking, numbers – did you get what you ordered?) 
  • Store the seals at a proper place 
  • Make sure that only authorized people have access to your warehouse resp. the security seals 
  • Document the seals given to the users 
  • Train the users about the features and the use of the seal 
  • Train the user how to proper seal 
  • Educate people to watch for evidence of tampering 
  • Document that the seal was properly locked and intact after applying 
  • Check integrity and number of the security seal before cutting or breaking it 
  • Any irregularity or damage on the security seal has to recorded (take pictures) 
  • If needed return such seals and application pictures to the seal manufacturer for inspection 

For further support or questions please contact one of our security seal experts.

Unisto is ISO 17712:2013 certified including Annex A - Seal Manufacturers’ security-related practices.