prevent steel corrosion

Prevent Steel Corrosion of Valuable Metal Parts With VCI Poly Bags

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.

The use of high-quality, corrosion-resistant steel and other durable metals is the first line of defense against corrosion damage. However, these components aren’t infallible. Having a plan to prevent steel corrosion is especially important if items are stored for extended periods or being shipped overseas, where there is higher potential for exposure to humid, salty air, which is known to accelerate the corrosion process.

How Multipurpose VCI Poly Bags Protect Metal Parts

The Multipurpose VCI Poly Bags we make are ideal for manufacturers who store or ship any metal components. Anything from ejector pins to engine components can be individually wrapped and protected from corrosion inside these bags, which come in eight sizes with either plain or zip closures.

Zerust’s VCI technology works by releasing non-toxic corrosion-inhibiting vapors into the air inside the bag. Those molecules then act as a shield for the metal parts inside against rust and corrosion. When the bag is opened, those molecules simply dissipate harmlessly into the air.

To figure out if VCI poly bags are necessary, manufacturers, shipping, logistics and warehousing companies should consider:

  • To what type of environment will the metal part be exposed? Climate-controlled, interior storage will be better protected than interior storage with fluctuating temperatures, exterior storage or marine environments  where parts will be exposed to salt air and condensation.
  • How long will the part be in transit or storage? Zerust multipurpose VCI poly bags provide up to five (5) years of corrosion protection as long as they remain closed.
  • What is the economic value of keeping the part rust-free? Consider not just the value of having dry, clean parts and equipment ready-for-use, but also smoother supply chain operations and possibly reduced complaints and back-charges.

Note that your company’s use of multipurpose VCI poly bags can be an attractive selling point to your customers, as you will be able to assure the integrity of the product they receive.

Contact Zerust for information on multipurpose VCI poly bags and other products that can help prevent steel corrosion by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

Scientists Explain Why Stainless Steel Corrodes, Feb. 14, 2002, By Sarah Graham, Scientific American

More Blog Entries:

Shipping Electronics Overseas? Plastabs, Vapor Capsules Offer Electronics Corrosion Prevention, Dec. 21, 2019, Zerust Rust Prevention Blog