Protect Metal Parts in Spring: VCI and Desiccant for Rust Prevention

With the start of the spring season comes budding flowers, chirping birds, and rising temperatures. The days are warm, and the nights are cool, but that is where the trouble begins. Spring’s temperature fluctuations are the perfect breeding ground for condensation to form, and that means big headaches for manufacturers who work with metal parts. For these manufacturers, condensation can cause considerable and costly problems with corrosion on metal parts.

Condensation is the process by which a gas cools and transforms into a liquid; it occurs when warm, humid air encounters a cold surface. Think of an ice-cold drink outside on a hot day — quickly, the outside of the glass is covered in water droplets or condensation. This occurs because the cold surface of the glass causes the moisture in the air to condense into liquid droplets.

Similarly, metal parts can collect moisture due to fluctuations from warm to cooler temperatures, leading to condensation and creating the ideal conditions for corrosion.  To keep metal parts clean and rust-free, protect them with vapor corrosion inhibitors (VCI), desiccants, or a combination of both.

Desiccants are drying agents that attract and capture moisture from their surrounding environment to create a state of dryness in an enclosed space.  Made from hygroscopic materials like silica, clay, or calcium chloride, they trap and retain moisture through the process of adsorption.  When properly used, desiccants ensure a dry, corrosion-free environment in the packaging, boxes, totes or shipping containers used for storing or shipping metal parts.


VCI is a class of chemical compounds that emit rust-inhibiting vapors into an enclosed space.  When combined with materials like Kraft paper or polyethylene film, VCI creates rust-prevention packaging that is effective, even in humid conditions.  Products such as  ARMOR VCI WRAP paper and ARMOR VCI POLY film simplify rust prevention, and they are clean, safe and easy to apply. Using these products eliminates the time, labor, and mess required to apply and remove traditional rust-prevention oils and grease.

To prevent rust using VCI, enclose, wrap, or seal metal parts in VCI packaging material, allowing the VCI vapors to release.  VCI works on a molecular level — its vapors form an ultra-thin and ultra-strong protective shield on the surface of metal that displaces moisture and other contaminants that cause corrosion.  And it is nearly undetectable — it does not alter the appearance or properties of metal parts. Upon removal from the VCI packaging, the metal parts are ready for immediate use without the need for cleaning or degreasing.

In addition, VCI formulations like ARMOR VCI Nanotechnology™ are designed to adjust to temperature and humidity fluctuations. This self-adjusting capability ensures optimal rust prevention performance, even in changing environmental conditions.

Worker placing part inside container with ARMOR POLY


Desiccants are drying agents that remove moisture and control humidity levels to create dry conditions in enclosed spaces such as product packaging, boxes, drums, or shipping containers. They are typically made from hygroscopic materials like silica, clay, or calcium chloride, which can hold a large amount of moisture relative to their weight.  When used correctly, industrial desiccants ensure a dry, corrosion-free environment for storing or shipping metal parts.

Desiccants are available in various pre-packaged forms and sizes, making them simple to use. To ensure uniform coverage and maximum effectiveness, proper placement of desiccant pouches is key. It is important to avoid direct contact with metal parts, attach or secure desiccant pouches to prevent movement during transport, and seal packaging or container tightly. This allows the desiccant material to do what it does best — act as a dehumidifier to prevent rust, which preserves the appearance and functionality of metal parts, and eliminates the need for costly reworking or replacement.


Using two rust prevention methods — VCI and desiccant – is the best of both worlds for metal parts exposed to temperature fluctuations, high humidity, and condensation. These two rust preventatives complement each other, ensuring they can be used at the same time without affecting their performance. With VCI providing surface protection and the desiccant material managing moisture, the combined action of the two when used together offers a superior level of protection that metal parts need, particularly during spring’s changing weather.

The ARMOR SMARTY PAK™ innovatively combines VCI and desiccant into one, user-friendly product. Each SMARTY PAK functions as both an emitter—releasing ARMOR’s proprietary VCI Nanotechnology™ for advanced rust prevention—and a superior desiccant to adsorb moisture. This unique, dual-function design protects metal parts with an unmatched level of rust prevention.

ARMOR uses a specialty desiccant in its SMARTY PAKs that not only accelerates moisture adsorption but also ensures its retention, even at high temperatures. Designed to be non-dusting and lint-free, ARMOR SMARTY PAKs are ideal for a wide range of applications, especially where traditional fibrous packaging materials are not an option. Available in three sizes, the ARMOR SMARTY PAK is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to protect metal parts from rust.

SMARTY PAK inside parts container illustration

Armor Protective Packaging® and its team of “Eradicators of Rust” have more than 40 years of experience in producing rust prevention and removal products that are designed to protect metal parts from corrosion while they are in process, in storage, or in transport.  All ARMOR VCI rust-prevention products are clean, safe, easy to use, and effective – whatever the reason and whatever the season. 

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To learn more about ARMOR desiccants, check out this episode of Arrusted Development – How to Prevent Rust with ARMOR SMARTY PAK: Double-Duty Rust Prevention.

We’re Eradicators of Rust and we do whatever we can to take the work out of your workday. The ARMOR team takes the business of rust prevention and rust removal very seriously, and we apply that same commitment to the ‘business’ of fun.