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Types of security seals by level of protection

High security seals are used in maritime containers

One of the main uses of security seals is to guarantee the inviolability of products or merchandise. This is especially important in the case of long distance transport, but also for high value products. Therefore, when choosing one security seal model over another, it is crucial to compare them based on the level of protection they provide. So, what types of security seals are there based on their degree of protection? Here are the main ones: high security, security and indicative.

Types of security seals by degree of protection

In general, there are three levels of protection, from greater to lesser:

  1. High security seals: they basically include seals for maritime containers. They may be in the form of a barrier seal (a tube-shaped seal with two end stops), but they may also be metal seals with a cable. They have a tensile strength in excess of 1019.72 kg.
  2. Security seals: standard seals in the form of a metal seal with adjustable cable. A less specialized type of security seal than the previous ones, suitable for a wide variety of applications. Tensile strength starting at 231 kg.
  3. Indicating seals: The main function of this type of seal is identification. So they are usually made of reduced strength metal or plastic. They may be in the form of security seals with metallic cable or ring type seals or adjustable strap seals. The ones with lower tensile strength: less than 231 kg.

1. High security bottle type seals (barrier)

  • High security Clik-Lok sealApplication: used primarily for the transport of goods in containers. Their function is to avoid them being manipulated.
    • Regulations they must comply with: Because of their use in transport, the seals are approved internationally to ISO/PAS 17712 and to C-TPAT regulations (customs anti-terrorism security in the USA).
  • Pieces that comprise it: These high security seals are called bottle type or nail type because they usually consist of two parts:
    • A central steel tube covered with plastic with a stop on the bottom.
    • An upper bushing with a steel core that closes the seal once installed. It is usually supplied attached to the other piece to avoid it being lost.
  • Products by security level: Bottle-type seals guarantee high security thanks to:
    • Tensile breaking strength greater than 1019.72 kg.
    • Tongs are needed for opening them.
    • Some models such as the Clik-Lok security seal (pictured) have an anti-spinning system that prevents them rotating.

The following table compares the various models of Precintia high security seals:

Model Type Material Tensile strength Approved as per regulations
Clik-Lok Bottle / barrier type seal Steel and high impact polystyrene 1100 – 1500 kg ISO/PAS17712 and C-TPAT
Clik-Lok 3 Bottle / barrier type seal Steel and high impact polystyrene 1800 kg ISO/PAS17712 and C-TPAT
CS3 Bottle / barrier type seal Steel and high impact polystyrene 2000 kg ISO/PAS17712 and C-TPAT
F-350 Seal with metallic cable Aluminium galvanized steel cable 1326 kg ISO/PAS17712 and C-TPAT
F-500 Seal with metallic cable Aluminium galvanized steel cable 1500 kg ISO/PAS17712 and C-TPAT

 

2. Metal security seals with cables (half-barrier)

Security seal with metallic cable F-150

  • Application: the metallic wire seals can be used for all types of transport and, in addition, they are a safety/security system used on valves and tanks.
  • Regulations they must comply with: if used for trucks, they comply with the TIR regulations, as is the case of the F-150 adjustable metal cable seal.
  • Pieces that comprise it: These security seals have a adjustable braided metal body and cable.
  • Products by security level: Bottle-type seals guarantee high security thanks to:
    • In this case, tensile strength starts at 231 kg. 
    • For some models, it may be necessary to use special shearing tools to open them.

The strength of security seals is somewhat lower than with the previous classification:

Model Type Tensile strength Approved as per regulations
F-150 Seal with metallic cable 330 kg TIR seal

 

3. Metal indicating seals

Shipping Lok: Indicative security seal

 

  • Application: They are used mainly for international freight transport, which is why they are considered customs seals. However, its applications are very varied and cover all types of transport: wagons, lorries, tankers…
  • Products by security level: The function of these ring or cable type seals is above identification, so the level of security they offer is lower than the previous ones.
    • Tensile breaking strength less than 231 kg.
    • Special shearing tools are needed for opening them.
  • Pieces that comprise it: the metallic indicative seals may be ring or cable type. Cable type ones have the same characteristics as those already considered in the previous section (although they have reduced tensile strength). The so-called ball ring type has the following characteristics:
    • They are formed by a strip of steel sheet that bends and closes.
    • They have an optical indication to mark the correct closure and avoid manipulation of the goods.
    • They may have a plastic flag showing the numbering, as in the case of the Shipping Lok model (shown in the photo).

The following table compares the different models of Precintia indicative metallic seals recognized by the customs authorities:

Model Type Material Tensile strength
Win Lok Seal with metallic cable Aluminium and steel cable 150 kg
Ball Seal Metal ring seal Sheet steel 85-125 kg
Shipping-Lok Metal ring seal Polypropylene and sheet steel 72 kg
Nifty Lok Seal with metallic cable Aluminium and steel cable 120-150 kg

 

There also exist plastic indicative seals, many of which are also recognized by customs.

The whole range of security seals may be customized using various resistant marking techniques. If you have questions about the selection of your security seal according to your level of protection, please do not hesitate to consult for advice!

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