Written by Kim Keating, Director of Customer Success
ZAGO Manufacturing Co.
Security or tamper-proof seal screws are vital for securing indoor and outdoor high-asset machinery and the sophisticated components within them, such as 3D cameras and sensors.
These specialty seal screws prevent contaminants from leaking in or out of equipment. They also contain a locking mechanism that will not break or open without proper tooling, effectively deterring vandalism and tampering.
The seal difference
While security or tamper-proof seal screws may resemble standard security screws — and are all inordinately difficult to remove — there is one significant and visible difference. Security seal screws feature a custom groove under the head of the screw and are engineered with a 360-degree rubber O-ring that, when tightened, squeezes outwardly to form a 360-degree hermetic seal.
After the screw is torqued, the O-ring is sealed and will not break or crack. This ensures the fastener is impervious to contaminants that may seep into and damage equipment or leak out into the environment, including:
- Dust or dirt
Security seal screws are designed for indoor and outdoor use and can withstand harsh weather, high atmospheric pressure, and extreme temperatures (hot and cold). They’re also vibration and corrosion-resistant, and pollutant-free.
These screws often provide a more convenient alternative to permanently fastening or welding parts together because often critical equipment in the field needs to be secured, but also may need to be opened or disassembled for maintenance.
Increasingly, security and tamper-proof seal screws are used to protect automated machinery from wear and tear and malfunction and fragile sensors capturing, storing, and transmitting sensitive data from physical disruption or cyberattacks.
These fasteners are often used when LiDAR (or Light Detection and Ranging, which is a remote-sensing method that uses light to measure variable distances) is employed, including for autonomous vehicles, robots and co-bots, and drones whether aerial, ground, or underwater.
A few of the industries and equipment applications that rely on security seal screws to protect hardware and components from tampering and contamination are:
- Advanced Manufacturing (for 3D printers)
- Electronics and enclosures
- Energy generation and utilities
- Marine (such as for 3D cameras)
- Medical devices
- Military and aerospace
What’s ideal for certain applications is that security or tamper-proof seal screws can be removed and reused multiple times for maintenance purposes (with the rubber O-ring intact). However, they will not unscrew without the proper tooling to remove the pin.
Adding this feature prevents unauthorized users, including customers, from removing screws and attempting maintenance that should be performed by only skilled or trained personnel — such as in the case with portable medical devices (heart monitors, kidney dialysis machines) or automotive software.
Security / tamper-proof seal screws are available in six-lobe pin, socket pin, spanner, as well as one-way slotted and corrosion-resistant metals, such as stainless steel and steel alloys.
A variety of rubber O-rings are also available, and the ideal choice depends on the equipment application and environmental exposure (such as moisture or heat). Options include silicone, fluorosilicone (a variation of silicone rubber that maintains high temperature), Buna (Nitrile rubber), Viton, neoprene, and others.