The use of Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors or VCI’s, applied to paper and plastic products, have been gaining a strong following in recent years, and in most cases, the VCI products have been used as a suitable alternative for oil-based anti-rust coatings.
Primarily used for steel or ferrous materials, VCI papers and plastics are used to wrap metal components requiring rust and corrosion protection. However, VCI products tailor-fit for non-ferrous metals such as Aluminum or Copper are also available in the market.
How it Works?
Papers or plastic films are coated or impregnated with VCI additives, the choice of which is dependent on the type of metal to be protected. When the metal part is enclosed or wrapped with the VCI’s, vapors are emitted which saturate the surrounding air-space. The vapors are adsorbed onto the metal surface forming a monomolecular protective layer. The layer remains on the metal until the package is opened, at which point the vapors escape, leaving a clean and rust-free surface.
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Advantages and Benefits
The two primary advantages of using VCIs are the following,
- The elimination of anti-rust oil, or at least the reduction of its usage – while proven to be also effective in protecting metals, oils or liquids presents itself as an environmental concern, as it still needs to be disposed properly once its efficacy goes down. In addition, certain chemicals or components of the anti-rust oils may be considered as health-hazards, in relation to skin contact and inhalation. VCI papers and plastics on the other hand, at least those from reputable manufacturers, have been tested to be safe for both humans and the environment. Reducing the use of oils obviously reduces over-all costs of production, a big consideration for most companies.
- Streamlining of processes – if the use of anti-rust oils is eliminated in favor of utilizing VCIs, then one step in the manufacturing process is removed. The process to provide rust protection AND packaging is consolidated into one single step, freeing up manpower to focus on more productive tasks, as well as improving the over-all cycle-time for production.
Moreover, the step of degreasing or washing the anti-rust oils’ coating from the metal components is also eliminated, as the unboxed or unwrapped parts will be dry, but rust and corrosion-free.
In our next discussion, we shall focus on the different VCI products that one may choose from.