Many manufacturers and shippers rely on steel components in production. Some store valuable metal parts on shelves for months or years on end, with the assurance it will be available at a moment’s notice if needed. The last thing any manufacturer wants is to open that storage box to find important metal parts pocked with corrosion or rust. The parts may have to be junked for quality and safety reasons, but waiting on replacements can cause serious supply chain bottlenecks, sometimes costing more than the loss of the part itself. The better way to manage this risk is to prevent steel corrosion in the first place by storing these parts in VCI poly bags.
VCI stands for vapor corrosion inhibitor, and these bags can be indispensable if you store metal materials or parts into boxes for any extended amount of time. In some environments, corrosion can happen very quickly. Even climate-controlled warehousing won’t necessarily protect your products if there is no little to no protection from humidity.
This is true even for stainless steel. As noted in research published by the journal Nature, steel is susceptible to rust because it contains iron, one of the three elements (in addition to oxygen and water/humidity) that together cause oxidation. Stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion (to varying degrees) because of its chromium content. However, it is by no means immune. Often with exposed stainless steel, we’ll see small pits start to form because of sulphide impurities and uneven distribution of chromium content in the metal part.