Corrosion, and in particular rust, costs metal parts manufacturers and foundries an average of more than 350 billion dollars annually! During manufacturing and shipping, metal parts can be exposed to moisture, causing rust. Many times clients return these rusted parts, doubling shipping costs, and sometimes causing the company sandblasting, repair, or replacement costs.
VCI packaging can reduce corrosion of metal parts in the storage and shipping process. VCI stands for volatile corrosion inhibitor. The VCI process uses environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitors that are coated on packaging paper or polyethylene. These materials are used to package metal parts so that the corrosion inhibitor chemicals completely cover all surfaces of the metal. This prevents oxygen and moisture from causing corrosion and rust on the metal.
There are several VCI packaging products, designed for different types of metal. These include VCI paper poly bags, and foam. In addition, there is a water-based rust inhibitor liquid that can be used to coat metal parts for added corrosion protection. VCI packaging works because very small amounts of the inhibitor are continually released by evaporation into the enclosed air space in the package and then settle on the metal surfaces to form an invisible thin film of protection from corrosion.
Sometimes in addition to using VCI packaging, it is important for metal parts manufacturers to assess the manufacturing process to help ensure corrosion free parts. Workers who handle metal parts should wear gloves because fingerprints containing salts and humidity that can cause corrosion. It is important to quickly package a ferrous part as soon as it is manufactured. These parts should be kept clean of moisture, dirt, or corrosion already present because VCI material cannot repair already damaged parts.
For best results, the metal part should be no more than 18 inches from the packaging, and metal objects like coils of steel wires should be tightly wrapped with overlapping VCI film. In addition, VCI Material should not to be stored for more than six months before they are used. Finally, it is best to test the packaging and shipping before ordering VCI material in bulk and to consult with a VCI packaging expert to determine the best packaging method for your metal parts.