If you have ever received a package you had ordered online only to find the seal broken, chances are you called the delivery company back to find out why the seal was broken. That would be clear evidence that someone had opened the package without authorization. Every high-value package is always sealed tight, and another layer of tamep[r evident label slapped across it for measure.
So what are tamper-evident labels? How do they work? What are the benefits and the drawbacks of having them on high-value packages? This and more are some of the questions we are going to explore today in detail. If you have been wondering how tamper evident labels are made and how they work, then stick around to the end, and you will get to know all that\s there’s to be learned.
What are Tamper Evident Labels?
A Tamper Evident Label (TEL) is a special adhesive seal that is placed on the opening area of a package in order to dissuade people from trying to pry a package open. Think of the traditional letters that needed to be sealed by hot wax and stamped with a marked seal. If anyone tried to reopen the letter before it reached the intended target, then they would immediately know that the letter had been opened.
For TEL, the main purpose they serve is providing secure proof that the package arrived in one piece without any tampering. Any attempt to open the package will most definitely interfere with the TEL, and there’s no way to rectify that. This is the reason why they have become very popular.
The idea to use these kinds of seals began in the mid-70s when the world was starting to warm up to product deliveries. This, however, had opened the door for untrusted people in the delivery line opening the package to pilfer items out.
The introduction of security tapes made it hard for this since any tampering would immediately be noticed on the spot. Most TELs work best alongside security envelopes, and so far, they have provided one of the most reliable security services for people who depend on home deliveries.
Types of Tamper-Evident Labels
There are various types of TELs that are used in many sectors that involve packaging and shipping or products. Among the most common are the ones used on bottles and jars, another topic we will look at down the line. The following are the types of tamper-evident labels that are used widely today.
This is a type of TEL that leaves a checkered mark if the security tape is removed. This is a clever and clear indication that the product in question has been opened and most probably used. The biggest advantage of this security tape is the fact that once it has been removed, it cannot be resealed or reattached, even with the proper mechanisms in place. Basically, messing with this will be all the evidence needed to show that you have opened the package or the product.
Alt-Text: TEL Void
This is a type of TEL that leaves a void pattern behind if the seal is messed with. Just like all the other types of tamper-evident options, once you have removed this seal, there’s no way of re-attaching it. This is a very good option for making it known to handlers of heavy shipping boxes that what they are dealing with has already been opened.
Source: Shosky Destructible Label
This is a type of TEL where vinyl materials are used in making the security tape. They are easy to apply over the sealing area of a package of product, and once it is set in, there’s no coming off in one piece; this means that the only way to get around it is to yank the entire seal, including the package of.
The time it takes for anyone to pick at the destructible label seal slowly until they get it cleanly off without leaving any evidence is time-consuming and not worth it, and that in itself is deterrent enough. A destructible label comes with an added advantage that’s not food in most of the other TELs. On top of stopping people from accessing the content of the package, it also makes it hard for counterfeiters to place the same label on another product or package without being found out.
These are somewhat more advanced than the rest of the TELs. Here, special materials are used to make a combination of layers that make it very hard for anything to be counterfeited. On top of all this, it adds a very polished look to the product and packaging, something that raises its value to anyone who may not know what they are. This is why this type of TEL is heavily used on luxury items that are high-value and prone to being counterfeited by unscrupulous people.
A holographic TEL is another advanced security tape that creates a very prismatic effect that is hard to replicate and counterfeit. The foil that is used to provide this high-quality security tape is usually made with all kinds of patterns, from checkered boxes to wavy lines, depending on the preferences of the manufacturer. Any attempt to yank the label off will leave very pronounced patterns or a large void that immediately signifies that someone attempted to open the package or product.
This is another type that utilizes holographic techniques. In this type of TEL, the label leaves behind a residue pattern of reflective dots that are impossible to remove without actually damaging the seal and the surface of the package. This is a very effective method of sealing high-value products that are housed in small packages. The spots left behind usually leave a very reflective pattern that displays different colors when held at different angels in the light. You may have come across this type of TEL when buying high-end electronic devices like smartphones and tablets.
These are plastic bands that are placed around the opening of bottles and jars to provide an air-tight layer of plastic that stops anyone from opening the containers unless they break that deal. Most are made transparent to avoid obscuring the branding on the product and are hard to break with bare hands.
Why You Need Tamper-Evident Labels
At the core of the packaging industry is security. The contents inside the package have to be sealed tightly to avoid any contamination. At the same time, they have to be protected from external interference until they reach their intended targets. This is where TELs come in, and the following are the benefits of using them.
- They stop any interference with the packed goods and packages, something that is very common when goods are being shipped from the stores to their destinations.
- They are proof that the product is new and straight from the supplier to the condenser. Once a consumer confirms that the seal is unbroken, that’s all they need to know is that the product is safe for use.
- They help stop counterfeit products from being reproduced. The sophistry applied in most of the TEL options is so advanced that the cost of reproducing them doesn’t make any financial sense to counterfeiters.
- They are symbols of brand integrity. If you are a manufacturer or packager, you have to invest in TELs if you want to inspire confidence in your customers. No one will risk buying anything from you if they are not protected by TELs.
Applications of Tamper-Evident Labels
Considering how important they are to the manufacturing, supply, and packaging world, tamper-evident security labels have so many applications and have been used for many years to ensure that products and packages reach their destinations in one piece. The following are some common applications.
- Food and Beverage Packaging: Bottles, jars, tins, and any other kind of packaging containers used in storing food and other consumables make use of TELs more often than any other kind of product. Food is very delicate, and once they are hermetically sealed, they have to remain like that until they are opened for use. A TEL is all the proof that the consumer needs to know that the packaged food and beverage has not been opened once since it was sealed, meaning it is safe for use.
- Restaurant Delivery: With deliveries becoming the backbone of modern economies, the need to find a safe way of delivering products to their destination in one piece is very important. Cases of the delivery person helping himself to some of the goods they are shipping are common, and the best way to deter this is by slapping TELs all over the products. The customer has a right to refuse any product that arrives with the seal broken.
- Pharmaceuticals: Drugs are extremely sensitive. They have to be packaged in tight seals that shouldn’t be broken until they are ready to use. To ensure that no contamination happens, Tamper-evident labels are added for extra protection when it is time to ship them out. It is believed that a drug poisoning that happened in 1982 when people died after taking Tylenol that has been laced with poison, a result of tampering with the seal, was the main reason why TELs became a manufacturing and packaging standard.
- High-Value Shipping: With companies like Amazon taking over most of the angles shipping duties in places like the United States and beyond, the need to find solutions to cases where their delivery teams tamper with people’s items as necessary. With important items like drug prescriptions and high-value goods at stake, the use of TELs is the only way to ensure that goods reach their destination and people are held accountable if they don’t.
- Laundry Soap Packaging: A good number of laundry soap makers quickly realized that most retailers would repackage their goods after watering down the laundry soap and detergents in order to increase profits. Once this became known, many soap and detergent makers started packaging their products in containers that were sealed with tamper-evident labels to ensure that no one would be able to open them.
Tamper-evident labels are very important in today’s world, where the consumption of goods is increasing every day. As more players and third-party entities insert themselves in the supply chain, the need for a secure and fool-proof solution to tampering and pilferage is very important. To learn more about TELs, how they are made, and how they work, check out our website.