Posted by AC&M

Security conscious firms in the oil and gas industry are transitioning to stronger sealing measures to protect points of access and operational controls. Cable Seals are the new choice of petrochemical companies worldwide, and AC&M supplies a wide range of cable seals.

In processing, storage facilities, and loading terminals seals are used to protect critical valves, controls, tanks, and more from tampering or accidental opening/closing.

In transport, tankers and bulk containers are sealed both for tamper evidence and to deter theft.

For decades a basic indicative seal with good tamper indicating characteristics was considered a suitable seal for these uses. Metal or plastic band seals were a popular choice. But as the complexity of operations and vulnerability increases, safety and security regulations and policies have tightened. Indicative seals are gradually being replaced by stronger seals that provide a physical barrier.

Risk and safety managers in the oil industry recognize that some of these critical points are a potential hazard to the safety of their company assets and people, as well as to the public. At production facilities, the popular alternative is the pull-up cable seal, as a more proactive step to prevent accidents, as well as to deter malicious activity. For the transit of petroleum products, cable Seals are applied where there is a need to increase seal strength.

AC&M offers two types of pull up cable seals. There are steel and aluminum body cable seals, with a wide range of cable sizes and strength options. We have a basic 1/16” diameter stock cable seal, up to High Security custom marked seals with heavy duty cable and ISO-17712 certification. Typically those are used for international shipping. Custom cable lengths and multiple colors are available.

The steel body model CL-99 with stamped letters and numbers is popular because of the durable marking. The aluminum body type is popular because it is laser etched and can contain more information including a bar code. The most common markings in processing plants and terminals is for indicating if valves are open or closed. The seal can serve as a “lockout” so the valve position cannot be changed without bringing a cutting tool and removing the seal before turning the valve. You might also find a seal on a critical control box containing switches or junctions that must be secured to prevent unauthorized access. Or even on the access gate or door to tank stations, or other secure areas.

For transport of fuels and petrochemicals, the potential for theft or vandalism exists when tankers sit for an extended time in vulnerable places. Even a stop of an hour or less can leave tankers exposed. We see oil companies switch from indicative to cable seals on tankers in regions where fuel theft is known to occur.

In the US a majority of fuel tank trucks often are used for short haul delivery and do not sit in one place long enough to be at risk. But if you ship petroleum products on long hauls then cable seals make good sense. (This is also true of other bulk products such as liquor, bulk chemicals, and other items of high value.).

Cable seals are also well suited to use on rail cars. Rail tankers are often kept in high risk secluded areas for longer times than trucks. Plus the volume of product in a rail car is a very high risk if exposed to accidental opening, tampering by vandals, or outright theft.

Another benefit of cable seals for tankers is easy installation. Tank trucks and rail cars are not standardized, and some are harder than others to thread a seal into a valve or hatch closure. The cable seals are simple to thread into those hatches and valves, to fit almost any situation. Plastic seals may not be strong enough to push through in some cases.

A cable seal might also be used to protect empty tanks or tankers after cleaning and conditioning for refilling. This will verify purity, acceptable content, and condition of a tank before filling.

Selecting the right cable seal is not difficult, but there are many options and considerations. Which one fits your needs? Each user’s needs are unique. Cable diameter and length are key factors, as well as the type of body and marking. AC&M can help with your selection, or you can use our web site to compare the choices.

If you have questions about our seals or want information about using seals in your fuel or oil operations we are at your service. AC&M serves many of the major petroleum and gas enterprises around the world.

An experienced seal applications expert is available any time during business hours. Contact a seal specialist at our main office and factory: info@seals.com or call 1-800-342-0333 in the US or 516-349-7010 from anywhere.

Or see our website www.seals.com for sales and service locations outside the US.