Very few items, if any, are really tamper “proof.”
Tamper Evident Labels
Given enough time and effort, most items can be tampered with by those who are intent on causing problems. Nevertheless, steps can and should be taken to deter such activity and protect users of products subject to potential tampering. Tamper-evidency indicates that tampering has occurred. Tamper-evident features are design elements that try to indicate tampering that otherwise could possibly evade detection.
Some products may require tamper-evident labeling by law. These may be used in many different industries ranging from healthcare to industrial equipment.
Some Tamper-evident labels may simply have a statement that informs a user that there are special tamper-evident features on a package or device that should be examined to verify the feature is intact before using the product. Tamper-evident labels may also have features built in that indicate that tampering has occurred to the label itself.
Many manufacturers require labeling that will indicate tampering if attempts are made to remove an authentic label from their product. The manufacturer may be concerned that an authentic label may be transferred to a counterfeit or stolen item. For these potential situations, the manufacturer may want the label to have features that cause it to destruct when attempts are made to remove it. This prevents a label of normal appearance from being transferred to an unauthorized part. This is a common concern in the automotive OEM and aftermarket sectors.
If a label is removed from a product, many manufacturers may also want evidence left behind on the product indicating that a label was once in fact present. This may be a desirable feature for a warning label. If someone becomes injured using a product (i.e. tools, lawn maintenance equipment, appliances, etc.), a manufacturer may point to the warning label on their product during matters of litigation. If someone has removed a Warning label, there may be a feature designed into the label that would indicate a label had been applied by the manufacturer. Such features could include visual wording such as “TAMPERED” or “VOID”. Depending on design, a company’s logo may be part of a tamper-evident feature. Another possible indicator could be a UV luminescent footprint left behind by the label.
Tamper cuts are small die-cuts that may be made within the area of a label and/or around the edges of the label. These cause the label to tear apart when physically disturbed. Some specialized label materials are very fragile and destruct more easily that regular label materials.
There are several features that may be incorporated into tamper-evident labels that can be overt (visible) or covert (hidden).
It is important to consider all factors for each application so the best combination of tamper-evident features can be used. Manufacturers want their labels to be durable enough to withstand the entire life cycle of their products, but also fragile enough to indicate tampering. These requirements hold true under a variety of circumstances: high temperatures, low temperatures, excessive moisture, mechanical and abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, etc. Product surfaces to which labels are applied vary significantly. The substrate’s surface energy, topography, orientation, etc. can also influence the performance of a tamper-evident label. All of these require maintaining the right balance between materials, inks, coatings, tamper-evident feature chemistry and their performance. Whitlam Group has the experience and testing capabilities to design the best tamper-evident labeling for your needs.