US20110012377A1 - Tamper evident security seal - Google Patents

Tamper evident security seal Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110012377A1
US20110012377A1 US12838525 US83852510A US20110012377A1 US 20110012377 A1 US20110012377 A1 US 20110012377A1 US 12838525 US12838525 US 12838525 US 83852510 A US83852510 A US 83852510A US 20110012377 A1 US20110012377 A1 US 20110012377A1
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US
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
locking
cable
element
disk
body
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12838525
Inventor
Barry B. Simes
Paul A. Littrell
Ni Zhen Rong
Richard C. Dreisbach
Robert F. Debrody
Carlos M. Pinho
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Brammall Inc
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Brammall Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F3/00Labels, tag tickets, or similar identification or indication means; Seals; Postage or like stamps
    • G09F3/02Forms or constructions
    • G09F3/03Forms or constructions of security seals
    • G09F3/0305Forms or constructions of security seals characterised by the type of seal used
    • G09F3/037Forms or constructions of security seals characterised by the type of seal used having tie-wrap sealing means
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T292/00Closure fasteners
    • Y10T292/48Seals
    • Y10T292/509Encasing

Abstract

A security seal includes a locking element and a locking body configured to receive an end of the locking element therein to secure the security seal at an object. The locking body may include a deformable wall that deforms responsive to a sufficient pressure applied to the wall of the locking body. A disk element may be disposed in the locking body and movable along a tapered channel to clamp against the locking element to limit retraction of the locking element. The tapered channel may have an arcuate surface along which the disk element moves to provide a progressively increasing bite angle and clamping force at the locking element. The disk element may have a knurled surface with a circumferential groove established circumferentially around the disk element, with the circumferential groove offset from a center line of the disk element and toward a respective end of the disk element.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    The present application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/226,810, filed Jul. 20, 2009, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to locking devices or security seals for locking or sealing items, such as cargo containers or doors or the like, and, more particularly, to a security seal with a flexible cable that is secured to a seal body to secure the security seal to an item.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    It is known in the art to provide a security seal or locking device for locking or sealing an item, such as cargo containers or doors or the like. The locking devices often include a flexible cable or bolt or the like extending from one end of a metallic or plastic locking body, where the cable or bolt or the like may be routed through an opening of the cargo container or door and received into another end of the locking body to substantially seal or secure the locking device to the cargo container or door.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    The present invention provides a security seal or rocking device, such as a cable security seal or locking device (or a bolt type security seal or other metallic or plastic locking devices or seals or lock bodies) that has a locking body (such as a metallic locking body), which receives a locking element or cable therein to secure the seal to a container or door. The security seal may have a collapsible wall or crush zone so that it is readily evident or discernible if the security seal has been tampered with. The security seal may have a disk or ball element that moves along an arcuate or curved tapered channel to clamp against the locking element or cable received therein.
  • [0005]
    According to an aspect of the present invention, a locking or sealing device includes a locking element (such as a flexible metallic woven cable or the like or such as any other flexible or semi-rigid locking element or rod or the like, and such as a metallic or plastic locking element) and a locking body. The locking body is configured to receive an end of the locking element therein to lock or seal or secure the locking device at an object. The locking body has a collapsible or deformable wall that collapses or deforms responsive to a person applying pressure to the walls of the locking body, and thus provides a tamper evident feature.
  • [0006]
    The locking body may receive a locking insert therein, and the collapsible or deformable wall may be spaced from the locking insert so that the wall may deform towards the locking insert when pressure is applied thereto. The locking insert may include a disk or ball that rolls or moves along a tapered or inclined channel to clamp against the cable or locking element to limit or substantially preclude retraction of the locking element when the security seal is secured to a container or door. The tapered or inclined channel may include a curved or arcuate ramp or surface along which the ball or disk may roll or move to provide enhanced clamping at the locking element.
  • [0007]
    According to another aspect of the present invention, a locking or sealing device includes a locking element (such as a flexible metallic woven cable or the like or such as any other flexible or semi-rigid locking element or rod or the like, and such as a metallic or plastic locking element) and a locking body. The locking body is configured to receive an end of the locking element therein to lock or seal or secure the locking device at an object. The locking insert includes a disk or ball that rolls or moves along a tapered or inclined channel to clamp against the cable or locking element to limit or substantially preclude retraction of the locking element when the security seal is secured to a container or door. The tapered or inclined channel include a curved or arcuate ramp or surface along which the ball or disk may roll or move to provide enhanced clamping at the locking element.
  • [0008]
    The locking element may comprise a flexible cable, with one end of the flexible cable being fixedly connected to a fixed portion of the locking body and extending therefrom, and the other end of the flexible cable being received in a locking portion of the locking body to lock or seal the locking device at the object. The locking body may comprise a metallic material (and may be coated with a polymeric or plastic or polyester coating or powder coat) or may comprise a polymeric or plastic material.
  • [0009]
    The disk element may comprise a cylindrical disk having a plurality of knurls or teeth established therealong and around a circumference of the disk element. The disk element may have a circumferential groove established in the knurled outer surface and circumferentially around the disk element, or the disk element may have two or more spaced apart circumferential grooves established in the knurled outer surface and circumferentially around the disk element.
  • [0010]
    Therefore, the present invention provides a locking device or security seal (such as a cable locking or sealing device) that provides a tamper evident feature in that if a person attempts to retract the cable or locking element from the locking body by clamping against or squeezing the locking body, the wall or walls of the locking body may readily deform or partially collapse so that a person later observing the security seal can readily discern that the security seal had been tampered with. The present invention also provides a curved or arcuate surface or ramp along which a disk or ball may roll to clamp the cable or locking element within the locking insert of the locking body. The curved or arcuate surface provides a sharper or greater biting angle for the ball or disk to enhance biting or clamping against the cable or locking element if the cable is pulled at in an attempt to retract the cable from the locking body. The initial retraction of the cable when initially pulled thus may be limited by the sharper bite angle whereby a greater amount of clamping force may be achieved at the cable in a reduced amount of longitudinal travel (along the locking body and in the direction of the cable retraction) of the disk or ball.
  • [0011]
    These and other objects, advantages, purposes and features of the present invention will become apparent upon review of the following specification in conjunction with the drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cable security seal in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the cable security seal of FIG. 1;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 3 is an exploded plan view of the security seal of FIG. 1, showing the cable (shown as a broken cable to indicate that the cable may be of various lengths) and security seal body, with the locking insert removed from the seal body;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 4 is a plan view of the other side of the security seal of FIG. 1;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4A is a sectional view of the security seal taken along the line A-A in FIG. 4;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4B is a sectional view of the security seal taken along the line B-B in FIG. 4;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 4C is a sectional view of the security seal taken along the line C-C in FIG. 4;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 5 is a plan view of the security seal body, with a portion cut-away to show additional details;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 6 is an end elevation of the security seal;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 6A is an enlarged view of the area A in FIG. 6;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the security seal, showing the gap between the locking insert and the collapsible wall portion of the locking body;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 7A is an enlarged view of the area A in FIG. 7;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the locking insert of the security seal of the present invention;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 9 is a side elevation of the locking insert of FIG. 8;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 10 is an opposite side elevation of the locking insert of FIG. 8;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 10A is a sectional view of the locking insert taken along the line A-A in FIG. 10;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 10B is a sectional view of the locking insert taken along the line B-B in FIG. 10;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 11 is an end elevation of the locking insert of FIG. 8;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 11A is a sectional view of the locking insert taken along the line A-A in FIG. 11;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a locking disk having a pair of spaced apart circumferential grooves in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 12A is a side elevation of the locking disk of FIG. 12;
  • [0033]
    FIG. 12B is an end elevation of the locking disk of FIG. 12; and
  • [0034]
    FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a locking disk having three spaced apart circumferential grooves in accordance with the present invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0035]
    Referring now to the drawings and the illustrative embodiments depicted therein, a locking device or security seal 10 includes a metallic or elastomeric or plastic locking body 12, a locking element, such as, for example, a flexible locking element or cable 14, and a locking insert 16 that is received in locking body 12 and functions to receive and secure an end of cable 14 therein when the security seal is secured to an item (FIGS. 1-3). Security seal 10 may be substantially similar in appearance to the locking device shown in U.S. Design pat. application, Ser. No. 29/340,462, filed Jul. 20, 2009 by Stevenson et al. for TAMPER EVIDENT SECURITY SEAL, now U.S. Design Pat. No. D609,076, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Optionally, the security seal may utilize aspects of the locking devices or security seals described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,578,886; 6,457,754; 5,611,583; and 5,352,003, and/or U.S. patent applications Ser. No. 11/053,503, filed Feb. 8, 2005; and/or Ser. No. 10/567,880, filed Feb. 9, 2006, which all are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
  • [0036]
    Cable 14 is fixedly secured at one end 14 a at a fixed portion 18 of locking body 12 and extends therefrom. The cable 14 may be routed through a hasp or opening of an object (not shown), such as a cargo container or door latch or the like, and the opposite or locking end 14 b of the cable 14 may be inserted into receiving or locking insert or portion 16 of a locking portion 20 of locking body 12 to lock or seal the locking or sealing device 10 to the object. The locking insert 16 includes a ball or disk element 22 or other locking member positioned within a tapered or ramped or inclined channel 24, whereby the disk element moves along the ramped channel of the locking insert to allow for insertion of the locking end of the cable 14 in one direction and to clamp onto the cable to limit or substantially preclude retraction of the cable (such as by pulling at the cable in the opposite direction) after the cable is inserted into the locking insert 16 and locking body 12, and the disk element 22 may be biased toward the narrow end of the channel via a biasing element 26, such as a spring or the like. The ramped channel of locking insert 16 may comprise a curved or arcuate ramped or inclined surface along which the disk may roll or move to enhance the clamping of the disk against the inserted cable, as discussed below. The locking body 12 may function to collapse or crush at predetermined areas to limit or substantially preclude removal of the cable from the locking insert and to indicate that the security seal has been tampered with, as also discussed below.
  • [0037]
    Flexible locking element or cable 14 may comprise any cable or flexible element, such as a multi-strand cable that is woven from multiple metallic strands. For example, the cable 14 may comprise a multi-strand cable having multiple strands of wire woven or wound together, and then multiple woven strands may be further woven together to form the woven cable. The cable may comprise a pre-formed or non-preformed type of cable without affecting the scope of the present invention. The fixed end 14 a of cable 14 is received in a passageway 27 established at least partially through fixed portion 18 of locking body 12 and is fixedly retained therein (such as via staking or welding or crimping or the like, such as at stakes 27 a shown in FIGS. 4 and 4C) and extends therefrom. Although shown and described as a flexible cable, it is envisioned that aspects of security seal 10 may be suitable for use in a locking device or security seal having a substantially rigid locking element, such as a substantially rigid locking rod or bolt or the like or other rigid or flexible locking elements made of a metallic or elastomeric material or the like, while remaining within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0038]
    In the illustrated embodiment, locking body 12 includes a generally planar rear or back surface 12 a and a tiered or stepped front surface 12 b. Optionally, fixed portion 18 of locking body 12 may comprise a narrowed side or edge region 18 a, and the rear surface 12 a of locking body 12 may include a roughened surface portion 12 c, which may be roughened or uneven and may have a plurality of ridges and grooves formed therealong (as best shown in FIGS. 3, 4A, 4B and 5-7), established along a portion of rear surface 12 a at narrowed side region 18 a. The rear surface 12 a of locking body 12 thus includes roughened surface portion 12 c and a generally smooth surface portion 12 d. The roughened surface 12 c provides a surface upon which the indicia may be printed, whereby the printed indicia will be difficult to alter or remove due to the uneven surface, thereby providing enhanced tamper evident means to the security seal. In the illustrated embodiment, locking body 12 comprises a metallic material, such as aluminum or steel or the like, but may comprise any suitable material, such as plastic or polymeric materials, while remaining within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0039]
    Locking portion 20 of locking body 12 receives locking insert or retaining element 16 for receiving locking end 14 b of cable 14 therein and substantially retaining locking end 14 b therein so that removal of cable 14 and locking end 14 b from locking body 12 is limited or substantially precluded. Locking portion 20 of locking body 12 includes a hollow interior (such as shown in FIG. 4C with locking insert 16 removed from locking body 12) that is open at one end of the locking body for receiving locking insert 16 therein, wherein locking insert 16 may be secured within the hollow interior of locking body 12, such as via any suitable retaining means, such as heat staking, welding, press fitting and/or the like. Cable 14 extends from fixed end 14 a of cable 14 that is fixed at locking body 12 and the free end or locking end 14 b of cable 14 is insertable into an opening or aperture or passageway 29 and into locking insert 16 to lock or secure the security seal at an object, as discussed below.
  • [0040]
    As can be seen in FIG. 4C, tiered portion or surface 12 b of locking body 12 provides for a wider principal receiving portion 28 a at the hollow interior of locking portion 20 of locking body 12 that is generally of uniform width (the vertical dimension in FIG. 4C) and a narrowed end portion 28 b. The hollow interior of locking portion 20 of locking body 12 is formed to receive locking insert 16 therein, while providing a gap between locking insert 16 and an outer wall portion 12 e at wider receiving portion 28 a of tiered surface or portion 12 b of locking body 12, thereby providing a collapsible portion or crush zone at the locking body, as discussed below.
  • [0041]
    As best shown in FIGS. 8, 10B and 11, locking insert 16 is formed with a wider end portion 16 a and a narrowed end portion 16 b for fitting in the receiving portion 28 a and narrowed end portion 28 b, and the locking insert 16 includes an intermediate width portion 16 c that is narrower than receiving portion 28 a of locking body 12, whereby a gap 30 (FIGS. 7 and 7A) is formed or established between the collapsible wall portion 12 e of locking body 12 and intermediate portion 16 c of locking insert 16 to provide a crush zone or collapsible wall portion 12 e at locking body 12, as discussed below.
  • [0042]
    As shown in FIG, 3, tapered channel 24 of locking insert 16 receives disk element 22 and spring 26 therein. Disk element 22 may comprise any suitable rollable or movable element, and may include a plurality of knurls or ridges or teeth to enhance the biting of the disk element 22 into the cable 14, and may comprise a generally cylindrical-shaped disk element or a generally spherical-shaped ball element or the like, while remaining within the spirit and scope of the present invention. The disk element 22 may include a circumferential groove established in a knurled outer surface and circumferentially around the disk element and optionally may include two or more circumferential grooves established in a knurled outer surface and circumferentially around the disk element, such as discussed below with reference to FIGS. 12 and 13. The tapered channel 24 includes a cable receiving portion 24 a, an inclined or arcuate guide surface 24 b and a spring receiving portion 24 c. Biasing element or spring 26 is disposed at or in the tapered channel 24 and is received at spring receiving portion 24 c and extends therefrom and engages disk element 22 to urge the disk element 22 toward a receiving or narrowed end of tapered channel 24 and toward engagement with the ramped or arcuate guide surface 24 b and the cable 14 that is received in cable receiving portion 24 a.
  • [0043]
    Cable receiving portion or channel 24 a is disposed at a cable receiving passageway 32 at the narrowed end of the tapered channel 24. Cable receiving passageway 32 is generally aligned with aperture or passageway 29 of locking body 12 when locking insert 16 is inserted into or received in locking body 12 so that locking end 14 b of cable 14 may be inserted through aperture or passageway 29 and into cable receiving passageway 24 d and into cable receiving portion 32 of locking insert 16. As can be seen in FIG. 3, cable receiving passageway 32 and cable receiving portion 24 a may extend generally longitudinally along locking insert 16 and locking body 12 so that cable 14 may be inserted therein in a generally longitudinal direction along the locking body. Cable receiving passageway 32 extends the entire length of locking insert 16 so that the free end or locking end 14 b of cable 14 may be inserted a desired or appropriate amount, and may extend out from locking insert and locking body when inserted therethrough.
  • [0044]
    Disk element 22 is movable along tapered channel 24 and engages cable 14 when cable 14 is received in passageway 32 and cable receiving portion 24 a. Disk 22 engages and rolls along cable receiving portion 24 a and along the ramped surface or inclined surface 24 b of tapered channel 24. As can be seen in FIGS. 3, 9, 10 and 11A, ramped surface 24 b comprises an arcuate or curved surface that curves toward cable receiving portion 24 a and cable 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the ramped surface 24 b curves toward the cable receiving portion 24 a to provide a progressively increasing attack angle and clamping force of disk 22 against cable 14 if a person attempts to retract cable 14 from locking body 12, as discussed below.
  • [0045]
    Disk element 22 may comprise any suitable locking element, such as a cylindrical-shaped disk or a spherical-shaped ball or the like. For example, disk element 22 may comprise a cylindrical-shaped disk having a roughened or toothed or knurled outer circumferential surface, with a circumferential groove established in the knurled outer surface and circumferentially around the disk element. The circumferential groove may be established along a center region of the disk element or may be offset from the center region toward one of the ends of the disk.
  • [0046]
    Because the cable 14 may comprise wound cable strands that typically form a helix pattern (which may be similar to the threads on a screw or other threaded fastener), a conventional or known disk element (having a groove at the centerline of the disk element) may not sufficiently resist retraction of the cable when a rotational force is applied to unscrew the cable from the locking device or rock the cable back and forth relative to the locking device to “walk” the cable out of the locking device without leaving evidence of tampering with the security seal. In a conventional cable locking seal using a conventional disk element, it is known that if the cable is twisted clockwise and counterclockwise the cable may be removed from the locking seal without leaving evidence of tampering. In such conventional cable locking seals, a knurled disk typically has a single groove that is centrally located around the disk element.
  • [0047]
    Optionally, and desirably, the disk element of locking device 10 may be formed with its circumferential groove offset or established off-center or toward one end or the other of the disk element. The offset groove may be located at or toward one end of the disk element and may assist in preventing the cable from being turned out or unscrewed out, because the rotation of the cable against the disk element with the offset groove (when the cable is rotated in a direction towards the offset groove) tends to urge or push the cable into the offset groove, thereby limiting or substantially precluding retraction of the cable from the locking device. When the cable is rotated in the opposite direction (or if the offset groove is located on the opposite side of the disk element), the cable may not be urged into the groove and the disk element may not prevent the cable from being retracted from the locking device, because in such an application, the rotation of the cable may push the cable out from the groove.
  • [0048]
    Optionally, and desirably, the disk element may include a pair of spaced apart offset circumferential grooves established on opposite sides of the centerline of the disk element (the centerline of the disk element being generally centered between the two opposite ends of the disk element with a plane at the centerline comprising a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the disk element) so as to limit retraction of the cable from the locking device regardless of the direction of rotation of the cable relative to the disk element. For example, and with reference to FIGS. 12, 12A and 12B, a disk element 22′ includes an outer cylindrical-shaped knurled surface 22 a′ (having a plurality of ridges or teeth established around the surface) and a pair of spaced apart offset or off-center circumferential grooves 22 b′ established in the knurled surface 22 a′ and around the circumference of the disk element 22′. The offset groove (or holding channel) or grooves 22 b′ is/are able to separate or capture one or more strands of the cable and hold on to the cable (with the strands being urged into a respective groove during rotation of the cable in the direction of the respective groove), thereby limiting or preventing further rotation of the cable. Because the grooves are off of the center line of the cable and disk element, during rotation of the cable relative to the disk element, the twisting motion of the cable forces the strand or strands of the cable deeper into the respective groove or holding channel. In situations where a person attempts to rock the cable back and forth by selectively twisting the cable in opposite directions, the grooves limit or substantially preclude rotation of the cable in each direction and therefore limit or substantially preclude a person from rocking the cable and walking the cable out of the locking device. If the cable is further inserted into the locking device, the disk element may move along the ramped surface away from the cable and the holding channel or groove may then release the cable strand and allow the cable to be inserted further into the locking device.
  • [0049]
    Optionally, and with reference to FIG. 13, a disk element 22″ may include an outer knurled surface 22 a″ and a pair of spaced apart offset or off-center circumferential grooves 22 b″ and a centrally located circumferential groove 22 c″ established in the knurled surface 22 a″ and around the circumference of the disk element 22″. The central groove 22 c″ may receive the cable and limit retraction of the cable via pulling at the cable, while the laterally offset grooves 22 b″ limit or substantially preclude rotation of the cable relative to the locking device and disk element to limit rotation or rocking of the cable back and forth to limit or substantially preclude unscrewing of the cable or walking the cable out of the locking device.
  • [0050]
    Optionally, and desirably, the disk element may be made of a hard or tough material that is harder than the material of the cable itself. Otherwise, the cable (if harder or stronger than the disk material) may act like a file and wear out the surface or chip and crack the corners of the disk element. Thus, it is desirable that the disk element comprise a material that is harder and stronger than the cable.
  • [0051]
    Thus, the offset or off-center one, two or three (or more) groove configurations of the disk element of the present invention provide enhanced gripping of a cable by the disk element and locking device and may provide enhanced assembly orientations. With a symmetrical disk element (such as the two or three groove configurations shown in FIGS. 12 and 13), the assembly process is simplified because the disk may be inserted into and disposed in the locking body in either direction.
  • [0052]
    When security seal 10 is assembled, locking insert 16 is disposed within the hollow cavity of locking body 12, and may be secured therein, such as via staking or crimping, such as via staking or crimping the locking body 12 at a crimping portion 12 f that is generally at a receiving portion or aperture 16 d at wider portion 16 a of locking insert 16. When so disposed, narrowed end 16 b of locking insert 16 is received at narrowed end portion 28 b of the hollowed interior of the locking body. The wider portion 16 a and narrowed end portion 16 b of locking insert 16 are thus received in and engaged with the respective walls of locking body 12 at the respective end portions of the locking body. The intermediate width portion 16 c of locking insert 16 extends between wider end portion 16 a and narrowed end portion 16 b and is disposed at wider receiving portion 28 a of the hollow interior of locking body 12. Thus, a gap 30 is established between the side wall of locking insert 16 and the side wall 12 e of locking body 12.
  • [0053]
    During use, a person may insert the free end or locking end 14 b of the cable 14 through an object (such as through an opening or hasp or the like of an object, such as a cargo container or door or the like) and into the cable receiving passageway 29 of locking body 12 and into cable receiving passageway 32 and cable receiving channel portion 24 a of locking insert 16. When so inserted, the cable may push the disk element 22 against the spring 26 to allow for insertion of the cable into the locking body the desired or appropriate amount, and the cable is retained in the locking body via the locking insert, such that the security seal is thus substantially locked or sealed to the object.
  • [0054]
    After the cable is inserted the desired or appropriate amount, any retraction of the cable (such as by pulling the cable in a direction opposite the insertion direction), causes the disk element 22 to roll along the tapered channel 24 and along the arcuate surface 24 b in the direction of the attempted movement of the cable (in other words, toward the narrowed end of the tapered channel). As the disk element 22 moves along the arcuate surface 24 b, the disk element moves toward and bites into or clamps against the cable 14 that is disposed at the cable receiving channel 24 a. The arcuate surface 24 b provides enhanced clamping of the disk element 22 into the cable 14 by providing a progressively increasing or sharper bite angle, whereby the disk element 22 bites into the cable and limits or substantially precludes retraction of the cable. The arcuate surface provides enhanced clamping of the cable and enhanced initial engagement and clamping of the cable, with only a limited or substantially shortened or reduced amount of initial cable retraction as compared to conventional security seals.
  • [0055]
    If a person attempts to tamper with security seal 10 when it is secured to an object, such as by clamping or squeezing the security seal to limit proper functioning and clamping of the cable by the locking insert 16, the side wall 12 e of locking body 12 (that is disposed along gap 30) will collapse or deform, thereby providing a readily viewable and discernible visible indication that the security seal has been tampered with. In the illustrated embodiment, the tapered channel 24 of locking insert 16 (along with the disk element 22 and spring 26) is disposed along and within the wider receiving portion 28 a of locking body 12 and with the gap 30 established along the entirety of or substantially the entirety of the tapered channel 24, in order to limit or substantially preclude a person from clamping or squeezing a portion of the tapered channel and/or disk element at a location where the side wall 12 e may not deform in response to such clamping or squeezing of the locking body. Thus, any sufficiently strong compression or squeezing or clamping of the locking body at any location along the tapered channel portion of the locking body will result in at least partial deformation of the side wall of the locking body.
  • [0056]
    Therefore, the present invention provides a locking device or security seal that provides a tamper evident feature in that if a person attempts to retract the cable or locking element from the locking body by clamping against or squeezing the locking body (which may adversely affect the locking insert from working properly by limiting movement of the disk or ball of the locking insert), the wall or walls of the locking body may readily deform or partially collapse so that a person later observing the security seal can readily discern that the security seal had been tampered with. The present invention also provides a curved or arcuate surface or ramp along which a disk or ball may roll to clamp the cable or locking element within the locking insert of the locking body. The curved or arcuate surface provides a sharper or greater biting angle for the ball or disk to enhance biting or clamping against the cable or locking element if the cable is pulled at in an attempt to retract the cable from the locking body. The initial retraction of the cable when initially pulled thus may be limited by the sharper bite angle whereby a greater amount of clamping force may be achieved at the cable in a reduced amount of longitudinal travel (along the locking body and in the direction of the cable retraction) of the disk or ball. The disk element may further enhance the functionality of the locking device by providing one or more off-center circumferential grooves to limit or substantially preclude rotation of the cable relative to the disk element and locking device to further limit or substantially preclude retraction of the cable from the locking device.
  • [0057]
    Changes and modifications to the specifically described embodiments may be carried out without departing from the principles of the present invention, which is intended to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims as interpreted according to the principles of patent law.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A security seal comprising:
    a locking element configured to be received through an object;
    a locking body configured to receive an end of said locking element therein to secure said security seal at an object; and
    wherein said locking body comprises a collapsible or deformable wall that collapses or deforms responsive to a sufficient pressure being applied to said wall of said locking body, and thus provides a tamper evident feature.
  2. 2. The security seal of claim 1, wherein said locking body receives a locking insert therein, and wherein said collapsible or deformable wall is spaced from said locking insert so that the wall deforms towards said locking insert when pressure is applied thereto.
  3. 3. The security seal of claim 2, wherein said locking insert engages a portion of said collapsible or deformable wall with said space or gap being between said locking insert and another portion of said collapsible or deformable wall.
  4. 4. The security seal of claim 3, wherein said locking insert engages another wall of said locking body that is opposite said collapsible or deformable wall.
  5. 5. The security seal of claim 4, wherein said locking element comprises a flexible cable and wherein said locking insert comprises a disk element that is movable along a tapered channel to clamp against said flexible cable when said flexible cable is received in said locking element and when said flexible cable is moved in a retracting direction.
  6. 6. The security seal of claim 5, wherein said tapered channel comprises an arcuate surface along which said disk element moves to provide enhanced clamping at said locking element.
  7. 7. The security seal of claim 5, wherein said disk element comprises a knurled surface with at least one circumferential groove established in said knurled surface and circumferentially around said disk element, and wherein said at least one circumferential groove is offset from a center line of said disk element and toward a respective end of said disk element.
  8. 8. A security seal comprising:
    a flexible cable configured to be received through an object;
    a locking body configured to receive an end of said flexible cable to secure said security seal at an object;
    a disk element disposed in said locking body and movable along a tapered channel to clamp against said flexible cable to limit or substantially preclude retraction of said flexible cable when said security seal is secured to an object; and
    wherein said tapered channel comprises an arcuate surface along which said disk element moves to provide a progressively increasing bite angle and progressively increasing clamping force at said locking element.
  9. 9. The security seal of claim 8, wherein said arcuate surface provides a sharper biting angle for said disk element to enhance biting or clamping against said flexible cable responsive to said flexible cable being pulled in an attempt to retract said flexible cable from said locking body.
  10. 10. The security seal of claim 9, wherein an initial retraction of said flexible cable when initially pulled is limited by the sharper bite angle whereby a greater amount of clamping force is achieved at said flexible cable in a reduced amount of travel of said disk element along said locking body and in a direction of the cable retraction.
  11. 11. The security seal of claim 8, further comprising a locking insert that is disposed in said locking body, wherein said disk element is disposed in said locking insert and movable along a tapered channel of said locking insert.
  12. 12. The security seal of claim 11, wherein said locking body comprises a collapsible or deformable wall that collapses or deforms responsive to a sufficient pressure being applied to said wall of said locking body.
  13. 13. The security seal of claim 12, wherein said collapsible or deformable wall is spaced from said locking insert so that the wall deforms towards said locking insert when pressure is applied thereto.
  14. 14. The security seal of claim 8, wherein said disk element comprises a knurled surface with at least one circumferential groove established in said knurled surface and circumferentially around said disk element, and wherein said at least one circumferential groove is offset from a center line of said disk element and toward a respective end of said disk element.
  15. 15. A security seal comprising:
    a flexible cable configured to be received through an object;
    a locking body configured to receive an end of said flexible cable to secure said security seal at an object;
    a disk element disposed in said locking body and movable along a tapered channel to clamp against said flexible cable to limit or substantially preclude retraction of said flexible cable when said security seal is secured to a container or door; and
    wherein said disk element comprises a knurled surface with at least one circumferential groove established in said knurled surface and circumferentially around said disk element, and wherein said at least one circumferential groove is offset from a center line of said disk element and toward a respective end of said disk element.
  16. 16. The security seal of claim 15, wherein said at least one circumferential groove comprises a pair of offset grooves each established in said knurled surface and circumferentially around said disk element toward respective opposite ends of said disk element.
  17. 17. The security seal of claim 16, further comprising a centrally located circumferential groove established in said knurled surface and circumferentially around said disk element at a central region of said disk element.
  18. 18. The security seal of claim 15, wherein said tapered channel comprises an arcuate ramp along which said disk element moves to provide a progressively increasing bite angle and progressively increasing clamping force at said locking element, and wherein said arcuate ramp provides a sharper bite angle for said disk element to enhance clamping against said flexible cable responsive to said flexible cable being pulled in an attempt to retract said flexible cable from said locking body.
  19. 19. The security seal of claim 15, further comprising a locking insert that is disposed in said locking body, wherein said disk element is disposed in said locking insert and movable along a tapered channel of said locking insert.
  20. 20. The security seal of claim 15, wherein said locking body comprises a collapsible or deformable wall that collapses or deforms responsive to a sufficient pressure being applied to said wall of said locking body.
US12838525 2009-07-20 2010-07-19 Tamper evident security seal Abandoned US20110012377A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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US22681009 true 2009-07-20 2009-07-20
US12838525 US20110012377A1 (en) 2009-07-20 2010-07-19 Tamper evident security seal

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US12838525 US20110012377A1 (en) 2009-07-20 2010-07-19 Tamper evident security seal
CA 2710620 CA2710620A1 (en) 2009-07-20 2010-07-19 Tamper evident security seal

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US20110012377A1 true true US20110012377A1 (en) 2011-01-20

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US9558682B2 (en) 2012-02-03 2017-01-31 E.J. Brooks Company Tamper evident security seal

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US9558682B2 (en) 2012-02-03 2017-01-31 E.J. Brooks Company Tamper evident security seal

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