Is Plastic Security Seal Safe Enough?

buy plastic security seal

July 8, 2021

Recently, a new customer contacted me for a quote for plastic seals. A few days later, the client asked us to provide ISO 17712 high-security seal certification. As a local supplier claims, they can provide ISO 17712 certificate for plastic seals. In fact, as a manufacturer, we have seen this a lot. Today we will have an in-depth understanding of ISO 17712 certification.


What is ISO 17712 certified seurity seal?

  ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is typically carried out through ISO technical committees.   ISO 17712 is an industry-standard certification for seal security levels. According to the latest standards, the safety of seals can be divided into three grades. That is the indicative seal, security seal and high-security seal. And what type does the seal belongs to? Generally speaking, we classified the safety grade according to the tension of the seal. Under the ISO standard, we mainly test a seal through a tensile test, shear test, bending test and impact test. The greater the tensile of the seal, the higher the level of safety. Conversely, the smaller the tensile of the seal, the lower its safety grade. No matter what kind of seal, it will leave evidence of tampering if forced to open.

Indicative seal

  An indicative seal is a seal constructed and manufactured of material that can easily be broken by hand or by using a simple snipping tool or shear. Generally speaking, all seals are indicative seals. Almost all seals can reveal tampering. You can choose to print text, logo, serial number, even bar code on plastic seal tags. Based on ISO17712 standard, we classify seals with a tensile strength lower than 231 kg as indicative seals. This type of seal is mainly made of polypropylene, PA66, polyethylene and other materials. The characteristics of the material limit the pull force of the seal. In other words, the plastic seal is an indicative seal with a low-security level. The advantage of indicative seals is that they are economical and more flexible in application. Especially suitable for some situations that require temporary security. For example, we seal the postal parcels temporarily with a plastic seal, which is easy to open. The plastic seal comes in handy. First of all, people will print some information on the plastic seal to better track the goods. Secondly, plastic seals are tamper-proof. To open the seal, you can only break the seal. If someone attempts to open it, it will leave tampering evidence. In this way, it is actually to prevent the goods from being dropped.

How to open indicative seal?

  Some indicative seals you cannot open the seal with bare hands. Generally speaking, you’d better use a pair of scissors or a knife to open it. While some tear-off style plastic seals, you can easily break them with your hands. The tear-off plastic seal is now more and more popular, especially in the takeaway catering industry. We seal the food package with a tear-off plastic seal to prevent the food from unpacking or contaminating. If someone opens the food bags, it will leave evidence of tampering. This kind of tear-off plastic seal is also very convenient for customers. They only need to remove the plastic seal by hand. The application range of plastic seals can be said to be the most extensive.

Security Seal

  A security seal is a seal constructed and manufactured of material that provides limited resistance to intrusion and requires lightweight tools for removal. We classify seals with a tensile force between 231 kg and 1000 kg as security seals. The tensile strength of the security seal mainly depends on the material. Security seals are constructed with a galvanized steel wire, ABS material and an aluminum alloy lock cylinder. Indeed the tensile strength of the security seal is higher than the indicative seal. Of course, higher tensile strength also means that it is more expensive. Typically, the cost of the security seal is 3 to 5 times the cost of the plastic seal. One cannot open a security seal with bare hands. You can only unlock the security seal with lightweight tools, such as wire cutters. Similarly, the security Seal also can reveal evidence after attempts have been made to tamper with the seal. You can also print some information on those security seals.

Why higher price for security seal?

  According to different applications, there are also multiple designs of security on the market. As a result of severe price competition, some suppliers use poor-quality materials to produce seals. For example, one European customer said that our price is 15% higher than that of other suppliers. We were so curious about how they made it. If using the same quality material, there won’t be such a big difference in the price. With the help of the customer, we get some samples from that competitors. Turns out they used iron lock cylinders rather than aluminum alloy lock cylinders. The iron lock core gets rusted and corroded easily during transportation, which affects the safety seal performance. That’s why the government customs and other institutions refuse to use security seals made of iron lock cylinders. At last, we compare the competitor’s samples with our samples and send the differences to customers. Therefore, when choosing a security seal, make sure the manufacturer meets the ISO17712 standard when purchasing. You can also ask them to provide ISO/PAS 17712 certification and authorized test reports.

High-security seal

  A high-security seal is constructed and manufactured of material such as metal or metal cable to delay intrusion. Usually, we classify seals with a tensile strength greater than 1020 kg as high-security seals. Qualified high-security seals have an “H” stamped on the locking body or top of the steel bolt. In our daily life, high-security seals help secure shipping containers for long-distance transportation. Those high-security seals prevent others from opening the container illegally. Once locked, people can only remove high-security seals with substantial bolt cutters or cable cutters. We can also print serial numbers on a high-security seal to track the shipping container. For security reasons, each country has unique requirements for high-security seals. Since the 911 incident, the United States customs request that high-security seal manufacturers comply with the C-TPAT criteria. Suppose someone uses the high-security seal manufactured by the manufacturer that does not comply with the C-TPAT standard. In that case, the customs have the right to detain or return the shipping container. The supplier must comply with the C-TPAT standard when purchasing high-security seals when importing.


  I believe you already have a deep understanding of the safety performance of various seals under ISO17712. Let’s go back to the customers who request high-security seal certification for plastic seals in the article. In fact, according to the ISO/PAS 17712, the plastic seal is just an indicative seal. Of course, you can request the supplier to provide a tensile test report issued by an ISO-accredited laboratory. However, this test report only shows that he is an indicative seal. So plastic seals comply with ISO/PAS 17712 or not. It doesn’t matter. Therefore, please pay attention to those suppliers who claim that their plastic seals meet the ISO/PAS 17712 high-security grade. The trick thing is that many suppliers cheated their customers. All in all, plastic seals are not as safe as you thought. Plastic seals are just indicative seals for temporally locking purposes. Next time you purchase plastic seals, don’t let the supplier fool you again.

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