How To Avoid The Rust-Causing Mistake Of Using Oils Over VCI

ThinkstockPhotos-136266785The best of us make mistakes, and if we’re aware of an error, we try to correct it. There are some mistakes, however, that we miss. And sometimes these lead to a costly end, like a returned shipment of rusted parts and one unhappy customer.

If this happens in your facility and you’re confident in your pre-packaging rust-prevention methods, the rust probably developed during shipment or at the customer’s facility. If the customer tells you that the rust must have occurred in transit, you owe it to yourself and your customer to take a good look at your packaging methods.

Let Go Of What Fails To Cure Corrosion

If you’re still using oils to package metal parts, you should know that a thick coating does not guarantee protection. While the oil might bind to the surface and protect against moisture, it must bind completely to every inch of that metal part, especially the narrow crevices, crannies and nooks.

Worse still is a rust preventive that fails to withstand harsh shipping and storage conditions. High humidity and drastic temperature changes cause some rust preventives to break down and leave holes in the protective layer. This is a rust-causing mistake we’ve all made: failing to consider the effectiveness of a certain rust preventive by weather condition.

The answer, however, is not always to look for a higher-quality protective oil.

The Pros And Cons Of Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors

In order to justify a switch from oils to corrosion inhibitors, you must have a comprehensive knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of using this rust-protection method.


  • Quick, safe and easy to use
  • Corrosion inhibitor technology is bonded to packaging materials
  • Corrosion prevention begins immediately to completely saturate packaging airspace
  • Contains no chemicals that are hazardous to humans or the environment
  • Ideal for both short-term and long-term shipping and storage
  • Perfect for use in a processing or production setting
  • Safe when packaging with other materials, including vinyl, plastics and rubber
  • Its non-permanence eliminates cleanup and creates flexibility between packaging and immediate use


  • Some packaging situations may require combined use of other corrosion inhibitors
  • VCI technology may be reduced if large amounts of water infiltrates the packaging
  • Does not reduce rust if rust is already present

The pros outweigh the cons of using corrosion inhibitors as effective rust preventives. Still, it’s important to keep the cons in mind to ensure that you use enough of the right packaging material for the right application.

The Real Value Of Packaging-Environment Saturation

The one true advantage of vapor corrosion inhibitors is their ability to saturate a packaging environment with corrosion-inhibiting molecules while also regenerating more molecules as conditions change. These kinds of corrosion inhibitors protect parts in extreme conditions, like on ocean journeys and through tropical regions.

The real value of an inhibitor at this stage is its effectiveness against humid and acidic atmospheres. Extreme outside conditions negatively impact the interior packaging environment. For example, under intense conditions, other packaging elements like woods, plastics, rubbers, adhesives, paints and PVC release acid, which increases the likelihood of corrosion.

Sink Or Swim: Corrosion-Free Before Packaging

The success of your chosen metal parts packaging method is dependent on your parts being free from corrosion at the time of packaging. If your metal manufacturing operations extend out for months, corrosion has ample time to take hold. So, it’s essential to use an effective, easy-to-apply-and-remove rust preventive to curb corrosion while parts are stored.

Most importantly, keep in mind that every packaging situation is different. In order to gain a true sense of the most effective combination of rust preventives, you must conduct a shipment test. Only then are you truly able to stand behind your parts and your packaging.