Blog

22 June 2016: New colors available in the product range.

We offer an outstanding level of stock holding for valve car seals. We have the largest stock levels anywhere, ready for immediate delivery.

  • Cable Dia: 2.5mm (3/32")
  • Cable Length: 1000mm (39")
  • Cable Material: Galvanized Steel
  • Head material: Aluminum (anodized)
  • Colors: Red, Green, Black, Blue, Orange
  • Stainless Steel car seals also in stock.

All seals are marked with a unique serial number.



25 May 2016: New reusable car seal launched.

A reusable car seal seems a contradiction in terms. And in many way it is. The car seal is supposed to be a consumable throw-away device used to prevent tampering, inadvertent operation of equipment and to give evidence of use of equipment.

So a reusable [valve] car seal is in many ways, simply another cable lockout device. We can't argue with this.

This version of car seal / cable lockout is made entirely from Stainless Steel. Set alongside other cable lockout devices it is competitively priced. 

To use it, simply wrap the cable around the valve lever or wheel, and around the valve body or some other nearby fixed anchor. Pass the end of the cable into the seal body and tighten up the security screw. After that, a lockable sleeve is secured in place with a padlock to prevent unauthorized removal.



24 May 2016: What happened to the Blog on this website??

For a long while now we've been throwing our energy into our the Parent website www.totallockout.com. During this time, this website has not be updated. Our apologies for this because this site is an important part of our marketing mix.

Come by again soon for more news.

27 February 2014: Should I use a steel cable or plastic car seal?

The material of the car seal really makes no difference to its function. It's a matter of personal preference. It's important to remember that this is NOT a locking device. The valve car seal is not design to resist tampering, therefore the strength of the seal is not a factor. 

Instead its purpose is to remind workers that the valve shouldn't be operated without referring to supervision or process procedures.

With regard to materials, note that plastic zip-tie style valve seals tend to be shorter in length and might not be suitable for larger valves. Whereas steel cable car seals are much longer and more versatile. 

Conversely, plastic seals are much easier to cut, when it comes time to remove them.

01 September 2014: What are the specifications that define a car seal...continued!

A car seal is a disposable device used to lock or seal a valve to prevent tampering or inadvertent operation.

This basic functionality doesn’t require too many options in the specification. In its most simplistic form, the seal needs to be long enough to reach around the valve wheel or lever and the valve body, and should provide a sealing function.  In other words, once it's deployed you must cut (and destroy) the seal.

In the years since we've been supplying car seals our customers have sought other features.

In this specification summary we discuss these features and their relevance.

Cable Length:

To optimise our inventory we stock car seals with a longer cable (1000mm). But customers often request a shorter car seal because their valves are much smaller. In this event we point out that the unwanted cable can be cut off. But it’s important to ensure that this is done AFTER the cable has been threaded through the seal head. The reason for this is because the end of the cable can fray after cutting making it almost impossible to thread through the hole in the car seal head.

The question arises of cost. A shorter seal should be lower cost than a longer seal. Theoretically that’s true but the saving is so small, the additional cost of increasing our inventory offsets any saving.

Cable Diameter.

Our standard car seals have 2.5mm (3/32”) diameter, and this perfectly adequate for the application. The breaking strain if over 500kg (1102lbs). The cable is a multi-strand galvanized steel.

Color:

There are no standards which stipulate the use of colored car seals. But here at Total Lockout we took a practical view at the use of color coding. Given that car seals are used to seal valves in the open and closed positions it seems obvious to use a green car seal to lock a valve open and a red car seal to lock the valve closed.

Thereafter, to offer further choice, we also stock blue, yellow and black car seals.

Material:

We offer two choices of material for our car seals. Aluminium body with anodized coloring. These car seals have a galvanized steel cable. We also offer a stainless steel option which offers excellent resistance to corrosion in a marine environment. The car seal head is made from Zinc, while the cable is 302 stainless steel.

We also offer a limited range of plastic valve ties which can be used for car sealing valves. Similar to steel cable car seals, these have a unique identification serial number. The seal length is 300mm (12”).

Marking & Identification:

By default, every car seal we supply has a unique serial number. Each time a new customer orders car seals we record the serial numbers supplied. By doing this we can unsure that duplicate numbered seals are never supplied.

Car seals can also be etched with bespoke markings, specific to your requirements. There is a minimum order quantity of 100 pieces for bespoke marking. Prices on application.

Function:

There are two styles of car seal functionality. These are self-locking and breakaway key. As the name suggests, a self-locking seal becomes sealed (locked) as soon the cable enters the body. The cable can be pulled tight but cannot be released.

The other style has a breakaway key to seal the device. When the cable enters the body, it can still be removed. To create a seal, the cable must be pulled tight, then the breakaway key is manually turned until it snaps off. The tip of the key jams into the cable locking it in place.

Optional Extras:

Tags:

To improve identification, we offer car seal tags which can be used in conjunction with the seal. This is a small red or green tag which can be threaded through the seal when fitting to the valve. The tags are available in red and green and designate the valve as being ‘car seal closed’ or ‘car seal open’.

Wire cutters:

The car seal cables can be tough to cut. Ask us about specialist cutting tools to make this task easy.



29 August 2014: What are the specifications that define a car seal?

The important features of a car seal (sometimes known as a valve zip tie) for sealing valves are pretty basic. basically, it just has to be long enough to pass around the valve body, or nearby anchor point, and the valve operating wheel or lever.

With so many valve sizes to be sealed, anything from a few inches (cm) to 6ft+ (2m) long might be needed. The sensible approach is to stock a longer seal that fits all valve sizes, then just trim off the surplus after it's deployed.

But what other specification features might be important?

Things like seal head material, cable material, or the ability to uniquely identify the seals on the valves are also important features. We'll discuss these in a later blog.

If you require a specific feature in your car seals, why not let us know. We always try and accommodate the requirements of the car seal user.

23 Jan 2014: Data Sheet Update

We've revised the data sheet for the steel car seal to include Load to Failure (LTF) information. Follow this link to download the datasheet. (At the bottom of the page).

09 Jan 2014: Distributors wanted.

Due to prosperous business in recent months we're actively seeking car seal distributors in North America and Canada. In return for a modest stock-holding of product we offer generous re-seller discounts on the entire car seal product range. Any inquiries generated through our own marketing activities will be passed directly to the relevant distributor in the State closest to the customer.

05 Jan 2014: Is there such a thing as a re-useable car seal?

The short answer to this question is YES!. As the name suggests, a valve car seal is used to seal a valve to provide evidence of
Valve Wire Lock Car Seal on Gate Valve
tampering, prevent inadvertent operation, etc. etc. To operate the valve requires breaking the seal, and in doing so, destroying it.

But there is another product available on the market which allows you to seal the valve, but the seal can also be removed without incurring any damage. It has anti-tamper functionality built in to prevent mischievous overriding.

Known as the Wire Lock, the cable is passed through the valve wheel or lever in the normal way. The cable is then fed in to the lock body. A clamp screw is used to tighten up and grip the cable, then a clever design locking sleeve is secured in place with a padlock.
Valve Wire Lock Car Seal Closeup
It's neat and compact and extremely robust. Made entirely from stainless steel making it ideal for all hostile environments especially desert or marine.

Data Sheet coming soon.









22 Nov 2013: How do you use Car Seals for locking valves?

We're interested in feedback from readers of this blog on why they use car seals. In our experience there's a couple of common applications for using car seals for sealing valves. For example:

Sprinkler System Water Supply. For obvious reasons, continuity of water supply is essential for fixed fire fighting systems. The water supply valves will be set in the open position and sealed with a car seal.

PSV (Safety Relief Valve) Isolation Block Valves. Valves upstream and downstream of a safety relief valve can be 'car sealed open' or 'car sealed closed'. For process safety reasons, a safety relief valve must be kept onstream at all times. By sealing the valves around the PSV, this status is assured. If the PSV must be taken off-line for maintenance, a spare relief valve must be brought onstream. (Sometimes, valve interlocks are used to provide control in this critical application).

Aside from these two applications, car seals may be used for random locking of valves to prevent inadvertent or unauthorized tampering.

We'd be interested to learn of your experiences. How do you use car seals for locking valves?

22 Nov 2013: Car Seal Open, Car Seal Closed - changes to the product range.

We've made some subtle changes to our range of car seal devices...(for those of you seeking clarification on car sealed valves, refer to our previous blog "What does car seal open, car seal closed mean?").

Until now, the default cable size for our car seals was length 1,000mm (about 39") x 3.5mm cable diameter (1/8").

After getting feedback from the field we found that a 2.5mm diameter cable (3/32") was more than adequate for sealing valves. The residual strength in the multi-strand cable was fine for sealing valves.

Therefore, with immediate effect, all stock seals are now 1000mm long x 2.5mm diameter. There is a commercial aspect to this change of spec' too. By making this change, there's about 20% reduction in unit weight. This means we can save money in shipping costs. Which of course, we pass on to you, our customer.

By the way, if you're thinking 1000mm (39") is way too long for my requirements, you can cut off the surplus cable once it's deployed on the valve. But be sure not to trim the cable before you deploy the seal, because the individual cable strands will fray and you wont be able to pass the cable into the seal head.


Car Seals are used for sealing open or closed valves in long term isolations. Critical valves, such as sprinkler system water supply and relief valve block valves may be sealed closed to prevent inadvertent operation or tampering.



16 Nov 2013: Why use a car seal instead of a padlock and chain to lock a valve?

Car Seals are used to seal valves in the open or closed positions. Of course there are other simple ways of locking a valve; not least a padlock and chain.


But the whole point of the seal is that it can't be readily removed to facilitate normal valve operation. You have to cut the seal, thereby destroying it and giving evidence that the valve may have been tampered with.

A padlock and chain arrangement is a common method of valve locking which enables an authorized person to unlock the padlock, remove the chain and operate the valve.

To that end, whether to use a car seal instead of a padlock and chain is all about the valve application or service.

Some valves must not be operated under any circumstances, (or under strict operational conditions i.e. Permit to Work) for example valves on a sprinkler system which control the flow of water to the fixed fire fighting system. Another application is block valves upstream and downstream of a safety relief valve. These are sometimes designated CSO (Car Seal Open) or CSC (Car Seal Closed) Isolating a safety relief valve must only be done under controlled conditions.

Valve applications such as these may well be left sealed for very long periods of time.



3 Nov 2013: Car Seals with RFID - is there any point?

Here at  Total Lockout we're always looking at ways to grow our business by increasing our product portfolio. Especially if the product is niche, novel or even finding a new use for an established product.

We're currently reviewing cable ties with embedded RFID technology. Essentially this is a standard plastic tie seal; close to the head is an RFID tag securely embedded in the head of the seal. The product is gaining wide usage in lifting equipment applications. The tie is attached to a piece of lifting equipment and the hardware is used to identify inspection routines.
cable tie rfid

This got us thinking as to whether this same product could be used for in car seal (valve sealing) applications to record the identity, location and application of the sealed valve.

And here our experience is limited. We would be pleased to receive comments from individuals who implement car seal programs to established whether such functionality has a value in the field. 


28 Nov 2012: What does Car Seal Open, Car Seal Closed mean?

If your job is in anyway connected with pipeline processes, piping design or valve equipment supply, you may well have come across the terms Car Seal Open, Car Seal Closed, CSO, or CSC written on P&ID's (Piping & Instrumentation Diagrams).

Very simply, the terms describe to need to lock (seal) a valve to prevent operation either in the open or closed position. The device to achieve this is a Car Seal.

The term derives from a device used to seal the cargo on railway cars. Much like the seals you sometimes see on the back of container lorries. They provide evidence of any tampering with the contents of the car or container.

Basically they work much like a plastic cable tie. For valves, you pass the cable around the wheel or lever, then around the body of the valve or nearby steel work, push the end of the cable into the seal body. The cable is now locked in place and cannot be removed. The valve is now 'sealed'. To restore operation of the valve, the seal has to be cut.

They are a relatively low cost, consumable item. Available in different cable lengths and colors. The seals can be uniquely marked with a serial number.

Total Lockout (Safety) Ltd offer a range of car seals on their website. Click here for more information on car seals and how to implement a car seal program. If you need help to select the right seal or are unsure of the cable length you might need, call or e-mail us today.