ISO 17712

Background and History on ISO 17712

In September 2010, International Standard 17712, Mechanical seals (ISO 17712) replaced the Publicy Available Specification 17712 (ISO/PAS 17712).  17712 is now a fully-fledged ISO International Standard.

The 2010 standard (ISO17712:2010) replaced the earlier versions of the publically available specification (PAS), which were ISO/PAS 17712:2006 and ISO/PAS 17712:2003. The highlights of the major changes for the 2010 standard were:

  • cable seals: no construction or structural changes to the 2006 standard
  • bolt seals: a minimum dimension of 18mm for the bolt head and locking mechanism for bolt seals; no structural changes to the 2006 standard
  • all high security seals: a section on tamper evident testing (Clause 6)

However, the implementation of clause 6 was delayed due to uncertainties on how the tamper evident tests were to be conducted.

The 2013 standard provided the final details on the implementation of the tamper evident section to include the following:

  1. Effective May 15, 2014, high security seals must be tested for tamper evidence by the manufacturer as part of the manufacturer's quality program.
  2. High (H) Security seals are required to be tested for tamper evidence. Testing and certification is voluntary for Indicative (I) and Security (S) grades.
  3. Tamper evident tests can be internally generated and managed by the manufacturer.
  4. As an option, the manufacturer may hire a third party lab to test against the manufacturer's test protocol. The testing lab cannot certify the seal's conformance with ISO 17712 Clause 6; the certification is done by the manufacturer after receiving the report from the testing lab.
  5. The test protocols and completed tests are part of the manufacturer's ISO 9001 quality program. As an option, the manufacturer can also have the testing results certified by an auditor with ISO17020 accreditations.

For more info on evolution and highlights of the standard, see these links:

ISO17712:2010 standard:

ISO17712:2013 standard:

Overview of ISO 17712

ISO 17712 is an international standard which establishes testing and performance criteria for 3 different categories of mechanical security seals:

High Security Seals

These seals are designed to provide the most security. The most common high security seals are bolt seals (typically 7mm diameter or more) and cable seals (typically 3.5mm diameter minimum). These seals also serve as barriers since they require special tools (heavy duty bolt cutters, cable cutters or cutting wheels) to remove the seals.

Typical applications include placing a bolt seal or cable seal in the hasp of the door latch. Another common practice is to wrap the keeper bars with a longer cable seal or use a keeper bar lock.

The Customs-Trade Patnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a joint effort between the United State government and businesses involved in importing goods into the United States. One of the C-TPAT guidelines is to use seals rated High Security for intenational shipments which cross borders.

Security Seals

These are mid-level security devices which are lower cost than High Security Seals, but offer a higher break strength than Indicative Seals. The higher break strength assures the seals are druable for the application and not prone to breaking unintentionally. These seals typically include lower diameter cable seals (3mm diameter and less) and the high-strength plastic seals. These seals are typically removed with cable/wire cutters or other light weight tools.

Indicative Seals

These devices offer the lowest level of security. They are intended to show tampering, but are not intended to be a barrier for access. This category typically includes metal, plastic, or wire seals which can be pulled apart by hand or cut with a tin snips or scissors.

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