When a customer opens packaging and finds items affected by corrosion, it can mean wasted time and missed deadlines. This can lead to dissatisfaction at different stages of the supply chain and impact the supplier’s confidence and costs significantly.
Corrosion is caused by a combination of factors during manufacturing, handling, transport, and storage. In our previous blog post on VCI corrosion protection, we reviewed what VCI is and how it works to create a protective environment. This time, we want to focus on the correct application of VCI corrosion protection packaging and offer some additional usage advice.
Main advantages of VCI packaging
VCI technology has numerous advantages, mainly the fact that VCI protection does not require the subsequent removal of a greasy preventive coating. This reduces labour time, hazardous waste generated from cleaning traditional oil-based rust preventives, often with solvent-based cleaners, and the possible waste taxes. At the same time, it is particularly useful in complex equipment components such as pipes, boilers, and valves, where applying traditional corrosion protection can be difficult, if not impossible.
VCI corrosion protection packaging material provides complete, reliable, and user-friendly protection, replacing other techniques traditionally used in metal protection and saves companies time and money.
7 steps to correct VCI packaging
The effectiveness of VCI packaging in protecting goods from corrosion depends largely on its correct application.
Handling and packaging of spare parts is the first thing to analyse when we encounter problems of corrosion. Here are some simple measures that can be taken to eliminate the most common causes of corrosion immediately.
- Cleaning the parts
The parts to be packed must be clean, dry and free of production residues. Residual moisture is often one of the main causes of corrosion.
- Use of protective gloves
Handling the parts during packaging should be done with clean gloves. Hands and dirty gloves are sources of dirt and contaminants that cause corrosion, including skin acidity. Workers handling and packing parts should have access to clean gloves and change them regularly or when soiled.
- ambient temperature
The parts should be packed at room temperature to avoid condensation inside the packaging. Packing metals that are still hot or warm can cause moisture to condense on the surface of the metal as it cools, leading to corrosion.
- Seal the packaging
The more hermetically sealed the VCI packaging, the better the corrosion protection, as the VCI can function properly only in an enclosed space.
A good method of closure is to fold or roll the VCI plastic and secure the package with adhesive tape. It can also be tied to close it. Heat sealing is the most airtight, but is not a requirement for optimal performance of VCI protection. Some bags even come with a built-in zip closure.
It is important to ensure that they are folded in such a way that water cannot collect on the surface and enter the inside of the packaging.
- Prevent contact with organic material
It is important to prevent the parts to be protected from coming into contact with organic material such as untreated paper, cardboard or wood. These materials contain moisture, acids and other contaminants that cause oxidation.
Use VCI gusseted bags to line boxes.
- Position the vci material correctly
VCI molecules must reach all corners of the metal surface of the parts to protect them. In large volume packaging, it is important to position the VCI diffusers correctly. Use additional separators such as VCI plastic foils or VCI paper sheets between each layer of parts.
- Minimize packaging time
To prevent corrosion inhibitors from dispersing into the air, it is advisable to complete packaging operations in the shortest possible time (less than 12 hours). If the packaging process must be stopped before completion, properly store the VCI packaging material and protect the packed material by temporarily closing the container.
Additional usage advice
Products such as dessicant bags are useful in corrosion protection and should be placed inside the packaging. This is a preventive measure against condensation or moisture ingress if the packaging will be subjected to sudden temperature changes or more extreme conditions during transport or storage.
Storage of VCI packaging
To maintain the packaging in optimal condition and preserve the VCI’s corrosion protection capabilities, follow these basic rules.
- Store the packaging in a cool, dry place in the original packaging until ready for use. Maintain the ambient temperature between -18°C and 29°C with a relative humidity of less than 60%.
- If the VCI material is not used for an extended period of time, store it again in airtight plastic packaging to avoid atmospheric contamination and preserve the VCI. Reseal the packaging at the end of shifts or during downtime.
- Protect the packaging from moisture and residues by storing it indoors and covering it to avoid dirt and dust. Once the product is removed from the original packaging, avoid contact with moisture and other contaminants.
- Avoid exposure to ultraviolet light and protect VCI packaging from intense heat, as these factors can cause discoloration and reduce or change the material’s properties and corrosion protection capabilities.
- Preferably consume the material in the order of receipt, starting with the oldest.
- Store stiffer material on clean, flat surfaces to avoid warping. Avoid storing on uneven surfaces such as pallets.
How long VCI packaging lasts
The service life and corrosion protection of VCI packaging products may vary slightly between manufacturers. To a large extent this will also depend on the base material used.
The shelf life of VCI plastic is usually one year, and it provides protection of the goods for up to one year after application.
VCI paper packaging has a longer shelf life and can normally be stored for two to three years. The duration of VCI protection is up to five years from application.
It is considered one of the best base materials for VCI extrusion because the paper fibers are more open, providing a higher liquid absorption capacity. The adhesion between the two materials is higher, retaining all the properties of corrosion protection intact for a longer period of time.
In general, packaging products with VCI corrosion protection treatment provide the best protection for the longest possible time when stored properly.
For more comprehensive advice on corrosion prevention, our sales team can evaluate the causes of corrosion and recommend the best prevention system for your products.