What are the origins and characteristics of security seals?
Security seals: characteristics and uses
Security seals are used in many areas to prevent theft or other fraudulent acts. Let's look at their different roles, their areas of use and the criteria for choosing the right model.
What is the history of the security seal ?
Seals are far from being a modern invention! Indeed, their origin dates back to the ancient empires of Egypt and Mesopotamia. They were already used there to seal tombs and to close a document or transport container. An intact seal guaranteed that the information had not been read, or that the goods had not been tampered with.
In addition, the unique embossed seal affixed by the shipper authenticated the origin of the document or container. The first material to have been used for this purpose was clay. It was then gradually replaced by lead and especially wax. Finally, since the 20th century, plastic has been used more and more.
What is the role of security seals ?
As in Antiquity, security seals are used today to guarantee the confidentiality of information and the protection of goods and buildings. These devices are designed and installed in such a way as to be compulsorily destroyed or damaged in the event of an attempt to open the place, device or packaging to which they are affixed. Their role is twofold.
In some cases, the aim is to delay an attempt to open the sealed object as long as possible. The products used are then very resistant, in order to ensure the inviolability of the closure. In other cases, the aim is rather to be able to easily detect the slightest tampering attempt on the sealed opening. In these cases, the devices used are very fragile. The different types of plastic or metal seals can be customized and have unique double numbering elements to ensure uniqueness. This ensures that they have not been removed and replaced identically.
What business areas use seals ?
In the transport sector, seals are used to keep the doors of containers and trucks closed. In industry in general, these devices are used to secure different types of packaging, giving the possibility to visually check that they have not been opened. This is particularly useful in the pharmaceutical or luxury goods industry, where a high level of quality and traceability is required. A security seal can also be used to prevent tampering with measuring devices, such as electricity meters.
Finally, sealing is widely used in the forensic field to ensure the security of evidence and other evidence. Sealing is also used to deny access to places involved in an investigation or legal proceedings.
What are the different types of seals ?
Traditional lead seals are still used for many applications. They generally consist of a metal chain or a metal rod which is closed with a lead seal. Metal seals can also have a very strong cable made of twisted metal wires. This cable is closed on itself by an ultra-resistant tamper-proof clamping and locking device (anti-return).
Theplastic seal, whether it is of fixed length or progressive tightening, ensures closure thanks to its self-locking design. Finally, openings can be sealed using secure locking systems in the form of bars or nails.
Plastic or metal seals: how to choose ?
In order to choose the type of product best suited to a given application, the need must be clearly defined. Is the aim to make a break-in attempt as difficult as possible? In this case, it is necessary to turn to high-security fasteners that comply with the ISO 17712 standard.
Is the aim rather to prevent fraud by making it possible to detect the slightest break-in attempt? The most suitable products will then be very fragile devices, which are visibly damaged at the slightest manipulation. The nature of the item to be sealed, the value of the goods to be protected, the conditions of use, the type of numbering required are obviously factors to be taken into account when choosing the most suitable model.
In case of doubt, or for particular uses, it is preferable to seek the advice of a professional who will be able to evaluate all the selection criteria.