Keeping metal parts clean and rust-free while they are in process, in storage, or in transport is an important step in protecting your bottom line, your reputation, and ultimately your sanity. The unpleasant surprise of rusted or corroded metal parts can be costly, especially if additional labor is required to rework them or even worse, the metal parts have to be scrapped and replaced.
VCI Packaging: Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor
Not sure what VCI is? VCI, short for Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor, is a chemical compound that emits rust-inhibiting vapors into an enclosed air space. VCI is combined with Kraft paper or polyethylene film to create packaging materials with the added benefit of rust prevention.
What makes VCI packaging a great option is how clean, safe, and easy it is to use. There is none of the mess or the labor of applying and removing “old school” options like RP oil or grease. Instead, the application is as easy as wrapping or enclosing metal parts in VCI paper or VCI film and then you’re done – just one step to stop rust.
VCI works on a molecular level to prevent rust. Once metal parts are wrapped or enclosed in VCI paper or film, the VCI vapors release from the packaging material to form a clean, dry layer of protection on the surface of the metal that is only a few molecules thick. VCI does not change the look, weight, or feel of metal parts and it does not compromise metal surface coatings or treatments. Once metal parts are removed from VCI packaging, they are ready for immediate use without cleaning or degreasing.
The 7 Deadly Sins of VCI Rust Prevention Packaging
Want to maximize your VCI packaging’s protection to the fullest? Avoid the 7 “deadly sins” of VCI rust prevention to increase the effectiveness of your VCI packaging. While some say it is better to be a sinner than a saint, that is not the case when it comes to protecting your metal parts from the damage of corrosion.
Sin #1: Improper storage of VCI packaging.
Store VCI products in a cool, dry environment and out of direct sunlight. Protect them from damage or contamination by keeping VCI packaging in its original packaging and under cover in an airtight bag, bin, or container.
Sin #2: Overexposure of VCI packaging while in use.
When wrapping metal parts, do not leave VCI packaging out in the open. Remove only what is needed and in small quantities. Store unused VCI packaging securely covered and inside a container to ensure VCI vapors remain in the packaging.
Sin #3: Packaging dirty or rusted metal parts.
VCI protection is most effective when the surface of metal parts is clean and free of germs, bacteria, or other contaminants. The most common contributors to dirty metal parts are poorly maintained metalworking fluids, unclean work environments, and pollutants from hands/fingerprints.
Sin #4: Packaging metal parts that are damp or wet.
Thoroughly dry metal parts before they are wrapped or enclosed in VCI packaging. If moisture and condensation are present when metal parts are packaged, corrosion can begin before VCI is fully diffused and effective.
Sin #5: Handling metal parts with bare hands.
Human hands/fingerprints contain moisture, oils and acidity that can be directly transferred onto metal parts and ultimately, cause corrosion. Clean, cotton gloves should always be worn when handling metal parts to prevent the transfer from skin to metal.
Sin #6: Delayed packaging of metal parts after production.
Package metal parts immediately after processing, manufacturing, or cleaning and before dust, moisture or other contaminants degrade the metal’s surface.
Sin #7: Stacking or piling metal parts directly onto wooden pallets or cardboard boxes.
Both wood and corrugated cardboard are acidic and absorb moisture. If metal parts are left in direct contact with these materials, they can quickly induce and accelerate corrosion.
Avoid these 7 “sins” in your manufacturing process to reap the rewards of clean, safe, easy-to-use, and effective rust prevention, all thanks to VCI packaging.