Defending metal products and equipment against rust and corrosion not only ensures those products are ready for use, but also prevents hefty damages from eating into your bottom line. Rust causes expensive problems for companies who don’t use VCI protection. In fact, a study done by NACE (the National Association of Corrosion Engineers), estimates that the annual costs associated with corrosion management is around $276 billon. That’s why it’s important to use proper VCI protection for any metal parts or equipment you use.
Here’s a simple guide to VCI protection that will help you learn the different options available and how they can defend against rust and corrosion.
What is VCI?
VCI stands for vapor corrosion inhibitors. These inhibitors are chemical compounds that release vapors into an enclosed space to prevent corrosion on a metal surface. They protect metal parts from rusting while in use, in storage, or in transit.
What is Corrosion?
Corrosion is a natural process that all metals go through. It is the gradual destruction of materials by chemical or electrochemical reaction with their environment. There are many things that can speed up the corrosion process, including heat, moisture, and other contaminants. VCI protection helps slow down the process of corrosion by lowering moisture levels and protecting against dust, dirt, and other impurities.
What are my options for VCI protection?
Luckily, there are plenty of VCI products that are designed to protect metal products and equipment. What you use for your application will depend on the type of product you’re working with and how much protection it requires. Below is a quick description of different VCI products you can purchase. Each is intended for a specific type of application, so you would choose the one that best fits your needs.
VCI Poly Bags
If you manufacture or work with small to medium sized metal parts, VCI poly bags are a great option for protecting those parts against corrosion and rust. These bags are available in multiple sizes, and they are convenient for assembly lines, packaging lines, and other similar environments. The bags feature a special poly film that is embedded with vapor corrosion inhibitors that fill the inside of the bag once it’s sealed. This protects the metal part while it’s being stored or shipped. Poly bags are the ideal solution for packaging and storing similar sized items.
VCI Poly Tubing
While bags are great for storing uniform items, many companies deal with a wide range of products. That’s where VCI poly tubing can come in handy. With VCI tubing, you can create your own bag by cutting the tubing to the desired length and sealing it with either a heat sealer or some other closure method. This gives you the ability to package multiple items on a single line without needing to stock multiple sized bags. It shares the same basic structure as bags with a special poly film embedded with vapor corrosion inhibitors.
VCI Stretch Wrap or Shrink Film
For larger parts and equipment, you can enclose them in VCI stretch film for VCI shrink wrap. These products come stored on convenient rolls that unwind and reveal a plastic film that covers and protects metal surfaces using vapor corrosion inhibitors. Stretch wrap can conform to the contours of a metal product and provide a tight seal against moisture, dust, and debris. Shrink film does the same, except it can be more customized to the shape of your product when heated. Both of these plastic films provide excellent protection against rust and corrosion, so you can keep using equipment without needing to replace worn out parts.
VCI Papers and Foam
Delicate products require cushioning when stored or shipped. Metal parts can get the cushioning they need with extra protection against rust and corrosion, thanks to VCI papers and foam. VCI paper rolls are available for applications that require metal products to be wrapped or layered inside a container. The paper is coated on both sides with vapor corrosion inhibitors, so there’s protection all around. VCI foam is soft and able to protect delicate metal items while offering VCI protection as well. Both of these products are good for sensitive or fragile parts that need to be stored or shipped.
VCI Chipboard and Desiccants
You can use VCI fiberboard chips or VCI desiccants to provide corrosion protection for items stored in normal poly bags or plastic film. They can be tossed inside the bag or container before it’s sealed to prevent moisture and corrosion inside. The fiberboard chips can be used for interleaving as well. VCI desiccants are designed to manage the moisture levels inside a container and protect against rust with vapor corrosion inhibitors. Both of these products are ideal for applications where VCI bags and film are not necessary, but there is still a need for protection against rust and corrosion.
We hope you have a good understanding of what VCI protection is and how it can help you defend against rust and corrosion. Anyone who deals with metal parts and equipment needs to be aware of corrosion and how it affects your products – and your overall budget. Using VCI protection effectively can prevent rust from damaging your supplies and ensure your business operations can run smoothly.