Picture of Guide to Security Tape

Guide to Security Tape

Security Tapes are used across logistics, in pharmaceutical / labratory companies as well as in general industry, most often as a tamper-evident box tape to provide security and chain of custody through supply chains. In this guide we provide an overview of the types of security tape available, the range of customisation options, as well as the types of applications security tape is most used for.

Security box sealing tapes are manufactured with specialised films and pressure-sensitive adhesive, capable of revealing a ‘void message’ on sealed surfaces (such as crate and carton surfaces) upon removal; they can even be used on metal and plastics, for example for security of shrink-wrapped pallets and for sealing cargo containers used in secure airfreight shipments. Upon removal the security box tape the film will also ‘delaminate’, causing the void message to also be shown through the film itself – meaning that opening or tampering is obvious even if attempts are made to stick the tape back down.

voided security tape
Void Message shows through the surface of the security tape as well as in the void message left on the sealed surface

Understanding the Types of Security Tapes

Security tapes are supplied in different formats and styles, and it is useful to understand the distinctions so that you choose the most appropriate and tamper-evident solution possible for your application.

Key Distinction: Overt and Covert Security Tapes

Overt security tape on sealed cartoncovert tape on sealed carton

'Overt’ security tape is so-named because this type of tape clearly and ‘overtly’ notifies the handler of the sealed package that security measures have been implemented; this can help to discourage tamper attacks or inappropriate handling in the first instance, due to the risk of identification or disclosure.

'Covert' security tape has been designed to look like a normal box tape until it is removed; only then do security void messages appear underneath. Covert tape is useful to highlight vulnerabilities in your supply chain, and to trace under whose custody cartons are being opened or tampered with.

Key Distinction: Continuous security tape vs perforated tape

continuous rolls of security tapePerforated numbered security tape on sealed carton

Continuous rolls of security tape are the simplest form of security tape. Security tape is often produced in similar reel formats to standard packaging tapes, e.g. 48-50mm width x 50-66metre long rolls. They can be used in traditional tape dispensers, making them easy to apply to cartons, boxes and so on.

Perforated security tape is generally considered a more secure form of security tape compared to continuous rolls. This type is supplied in segments, typically 10-15cm in length. Each segment has its own sequential security number, meaning that you can seal your cartons or pallets with a particular range of security numbers, for checking against packing lists, manifests etc.

Key Distinction: Standard vs Customised Security Tape

standard stock security tapeCustomised Security Box Tape

Standard security tapes are available widely, and can be preferable in scenarios where you did not wish to ‘broadcast’ that a sealed consignment relates to your organisation, brand etc.

Branded security tapes can sometimes unwittingly notify fraudsters or thieves of which consignments contain higher value or desirable cargo or goods.

Customised security tape can be supplied with bespoke designs, colours, widths, lengths, and surface and sub-surface prints. Customised security tape can convey brand messaging as well as promote security… Bespoke security tape gives your packaging a ‘premium’ and bespoke feel, particularly for consumer apparel, fashion and electronics.

For additional security, it is particularly useful to ‘hide’ security information in the sub-surface void messages – the full customisation options are noted below.

Key Distinction: Plastic versus Paper Security Tapes

plastic security tapePaper security box tape
Plastic security tapes continue to be very popular due to their high-tack, water-resistance and bright colours. Our plastic security tapes are manufactured from 30% recycled content plastics and can be readily recycled at end-of-life. 

A recent and exciting innovation, paper-based security tapes are sustainable, high-performing and secure. The 100% paper-based tamper-evident tape performs well even on rough and uneven surfaces, and have unparalleled sustainability – reducing your plastic use to 0% and with zero packaging waste per roll.

Tamper-Evident Box Tapes: Customisation Options

There are countless ways in which your security tape can be customised to suit your application. Bespoke security tape, particularly manufactured with bespoke surface and sub-surface prints, can increase the tamper-evident capabilities of your security packaging, making it more difficult for counterfeiters to replace packaging without leaving obvious signs of tampering.

Below are just some of the customisable features which we can assist with: -

Customised surface prints

Custom printing on the surface of your tamper- evident tape can incorporate your company or brand logos, corporate colours, and other application- or product- specific branding. It can also be used to convey information to users about opening the package - for example that product returns may not be valid if security tape is voided.

custom surface print security tapes
Customised sub-surface prints

The “sub-surface print” is what appears on the sealed surface (i.e. carton, crate or pallet surface) when the security tape is removed… This can be a custom void message, QR Coding, Barcoding and more… Custom messages increase the security of your packaging and can convey bespoke operational or user information for your benefits within your supply chains (including traceability – see next feature).

Customised sub-surface security tape print
Customised Traceability

Unique security numbering in multiple formats (including barcodes, data matrices etc) can be printed onto to the surface or even printed into the sub-surface void message itself.

Being able to security seal your cartons and packages with your own bespoke security number ranges can greatly increase traceability and audit control within your supply chains, allowing to identify vulnerable shipments and weaknesses.

Custom traceable security tape - barcode data matrix
Custom Roll Widths and Lengths

We are able to supply security tape in customisable widths and lengths. Tapes can be produced in widths from 25 – 240mm, and in reel lengths between 10 and 600metres.

Specific roll lengths can prove particularly useful for applying a consistent quantity of security tape for each cargo consignment – for example, our 20metre reel pallet security tape provides an appropriate amount of tape to seal a shrink-wrapped pallet consistently each time.  

Security tape - custom reels and widths
Complex Colour and Design OptionsWe can print security tapes using the CMYK colour process (CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and ‘Key’ (black)). The mixture of these colours can provide complex and visually appealing security tape designs.Security tape in complex colours designs

Applications of Security Tapes

Security tapes are used to seal boxes, crates and pallets and many other types of enclosures. Security tape is most commonly used for tamper-evident security for sealing of cartons, pallets and packages in the logistics supply chain…

Pallet security tapeSealing cartons with security box tapeSecurity tape for general packaging

Due to the critical nature of maintaining the integrity and tamper-evidence of sealed enclosures, security tape is used particularly in the pharmaceutical, food & drink and consumer electronics sectors. 

View our Range of Security Tape and Security Labels