VCI Packaging FAQ

Some common questions that are frequently raised by label buyers are listed below. If your question is not listed here, just contact us. Our friendly knowledgeable sales and customer service people are ready to assist.

1. What is VCI?

A: VCI is an acronym for Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor. Other terms used are VpCI (vapor phase and contact corrosion inhibitor) and VPI (vapor phase inhibitor). VCI chemicals are a class of corrosion inhibiting compounds, which have sufficient vapor pressure to release molecules from the compound into the air. ARMOR PROTECTIVE PACKAGING VCI products are packaging products, which contain proprietary AN-OX VCI chemicals directly in the packaging. All of our products are both vapor phase and contact phase. Our packaging products include papers, films, foams, nettings, chipboards and many other packaging components, which safely prevent corrosion on protected metals without the need for messy grease, oils, protective coatings or other ineffective methods.

2. How does VCI work?

A: Corrosion begins when an electrolyte (water, oxygen, humidity) is present on the surface of a metal. When this happens, electrons then flow from high-energy areas of the metal to low energy areas in a loop, through the electrolyte. The corrosion process results in the formation of oxidation on the metal surface. AN-OX Volatile Corrosion Inhibiting Technology retards this reaction by passivating the surface and inhibiting or depressing the electro-chemical mechanism that triggers oxidation, i.e. the current flow from anode to cathode. Electrical current attempts to flow from the anode through the electrolyte into the cathode but cannot, because of the VCI’s presence. VCI molecules attach themselves to a metal surface to form an invisible, thin film, possibly only a few molecules or even one molecule thick, to protect metal from attack. ARMOR VCI products can work for several years to prevent corrosion from occurring on the metal surface.

3. How long does VCI protect a product?

A: When using ARMOR VCI products properly, protection will last for years. ARMOR offers a range of VCI products to protect a variety of metals for specific packaging requirements. Typical protection periods of a normal 1010 steel panel wrapped properly in ARMOR WRAP VCI Paper can remain protected for over three years or more. For longer term protection, ARMOR

4. What causes corrosion?

A: Corrosion is the natural mechanism by which metal returns to its original state of ore. Corrosion of metal is an electro-chemical process. The flow of electrons from high-energy areas of metal to low energy areas through a solution on the surface of the metal, capable of supporting corrosion. Corrosion will not take place without a conducting solution. The solution is called an electrolyte, caused by water, rain, moisture, and humidity. As little as 65% relative humidity will form an electrolyte, which can cause corrosion.

5. What are nitrites, how are they used in VCI and are they hazardous in VCI Packaging?

A: Nitrites are used in VCI in the form of sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite has been used as a food preservative for over 100 years. It is found in the bacon you eat for breakfast and the salami you eat for lunch. It has been approved as a food additive for over two-thirds of a century. In fact, over 85% of the sodium nitrite present in our body is produced by our own body. In order to consume the MSDS reported hazardous dosage of sodium nitrite, for a normal VCI at 1.0 g/sq. ft. a person would have to EAT all of the sodium nitrite present in 31 sq. ft. of VCI treated paper. Not only does a person not ingest VCI paper, but rarely comes into contact with it, given the fact that workers should wear gloves to avoid the acidity that our fingerprints give off on the metal surfaces. Similar to most ordinary household chemicals, sodium nitrite is not without risk. It simply must be handled in the same judicious fashion as such ordinary chemicals as household bleach, windshield washer fluid, floor wax, and several others. None of these components would be considered as “hazardous” within normal usage; however, sodium nitrite is often singled out as if it is. While sodium nitrite in VCI Paper should not be construed in the same light as a food preservative, it is not the lethal enemy that some make it out to be. It is used in the VCI industry because it is an excellent inhibitor of rust, especially for steel products. SKS Industries manufactures several different VCI products, with and without sodium nitrite. Please contact an ARMOR representative for information and help in specifying the correct product(s) for your application.

6. Which is a better rust inhibitor, VCI Paper or VCI Poly?

A: From strictly a corrosion inhibitor standpoint, paper has been a better inhibitor of rust due to the way that the VCI is impregnated into the paper, and is released into the air and onto the product. VCI Papers have been in existence for over 50 years, first adopted by the United States Military. VCI because of paper characteristics is able to protect a part quicker coming off of a paper, than it is off of polyethylene. This is not to say that VCI Poly is not an excellent product or that it does not have its place. However, from a pure rust inhibitor issue, paper has proven over the long haul to be slightly more effective.

7. What advantages/disadvantages does VCI Poly have over traditional VCI methods?

A: VCI poly film has several advantages as a corrosion inhibiting packaging medium. The three main advantages are: 1) Provides moisture barrier in addition to a corrosion inhibitor 2) Offers ease of usage by simply placing a product into a treated ARMOR POLY VCI bag 3) Often a customer is already using a poly bag for moisture, dust and containment reasons and an ANOX? VCI Poly bag can give them these same benefits with the addition of corrosion inhibiting protection. Disadvantages of VCI poly are that from a purely corrosion inhibiting standpoint, paper has a slight edge in overall protection. However, this is slight and usually the advantages will weigh more favorably over the disadvantages.

8. How does VCI compare to desiccants in preventing corrosion?

A: VCI products and desiccants work in a completely different way. ARMOR VCI prevents corrosion by an electro-chemical process that forms a thin molecular layer of protection on a metal surface. This layer of protection is microscopic and does not alter the metal in any way, nor require removal of the VCI after being removed from the package. A desiccant is simply a moisture absorber. Desiccants absorb moisture but do not satisfactorily protect a metal surface from other electrolytes and contaminants that cause corrosion such as oxygen, manufacturing contaminants, oils or salt. For export packaging applications, we often recommend the use of both ARMOR VCI’s and our SHIELD line of desiccants.

9. Why is it important to have VCI Paper coated on both sides?

A: While some VCI Papers in the marketplace are only coated on one side of the paper, ARMOR WRAP VCI Papers are impregnated on both sides of the paper. This avoids confusion on the plant floor as to what side to place against the part as well as offering true interleaving capability of the paper within a pallet of parts. The result: less paper, less waste; a cost savings for you and your customer. Since ARMOR WRAP VCI Papers are impregnated, and not coated, the VCI is actually suspended within the fibers of the paper. This process allows for greater control of the amount of protectant found in the paper as well as the ability to put more VCI additive into the product compared to a standard coated product.

10. How does corrugated affect corrosion?

A: Corrugated is generally acidic by nature and acts as a sponge absorbing moisture due to its characteristics. Corrugated absorbs water/moisture even within a normal distribution environment. When metal or metal parts are placed directly on or near corrugated moisture and/or acidity transfer occurs, which will directly cause corrosion on a metal surface. It is important to place ANOX? VCI Packaging between metals and acidic and hygroscopic materials such as corrugated and wood to prevent corrosion at contact points. These materials include boxes, trays, sheets and pallets.

11. Can only one type of VCI work on all metals?

A: Diverse needs call for diverse solutions. That is why ARMOR offers over 12 types of ARMOR WRAP VCI Papers to choose from for your specific VCI needs. Some VCI manufacturers incorrectly claim that a single formulation will protect everything from steel to copper, others are vague or cannot tell you how much VCI is actually in the product. The fact is no single VCI formulation for paper can provide true corrosion-free protection for all metals and applications.

12. Why does ARMOR Protective Packaging offer so many VCI formulations and products?

A: Metals are composed of many different elements. Due to the vast differences in metal composition, one cannot attempt to protect varying metals with one formulation without a sacrifice in performance, or worse yet, failure. That is why ARMOR offers over 12 types of ARMOR WRAP VCI Papers to choose from for your specific metal needs.

13. Why is a compatibility test recommended?

A: Due to the abundance of metals available, as well as the numerous coolants, washes, rust preventative oils and other substances used within a manufacturing process, it is important to check VCI compatibility with these substances. ARMOR VCI products rarely react with any of these elements, occasionally there may be factors that either react adversely with a particular VCI formula or react to diminish the VCI performance.

14. Is airtight packaging required?

A: Airtight packaging is not required for a VCI product to work, however the VCI vapors must be enclosed in some fashion. For example, parts which are placed onto a interleaving sheet can be protected with ARMOR WRAP VCI Paper that is interleaved between the parts. Parts should be completely wrapped or enclosed and airtight packaging would be most effective for best results and the longest protection time.

15. What are ferrous and non-ferrous metals?

A: Ferrous metals are all metals which contain iron. Steel would be an example of a ferrous metal. Metals which contain other elements such as zinc, magnesium, copper, etc. are classified as non-ferrous.

16. Why is it important for workers to wear gloves when handling metal parts?

A: It is extremely important that all workers wear gloves to protect not only their hands but also to eliminate acidity and moisture from transferring onto the part. This is a very real and legitimate problem in many manufacturing facilities. A person’s hands have moisture and acidity that is directly transferred onto metal. This transfer of moisture and acidity will lead to corrosion at some point. In conditions of more severe temperature and/or humidity the problem arises much quicker. In situations where a metal part is more susceptible to rust due to machined surfaces, metal composition or the like, the problem is exponentially greater.

17. Does ARMOR have military approvals for VCI Papers?

A: ARMOR WRAP VCI Paper is approved on the Qualified Products List for Military specification MIL-P-3420. This is a legitimately approved product and is not simply a “conforming” product, as some manufacturer’s may mislead you to believe is the same.

18. What are the three most important factors within a manufacturing process which will influence corrosion?

A: Your parts should be clean and free from corrosion before packaging . Package clean parts as soon as possible after processing, manufacturing or cleaning . Use gloves when handling parts to eliminate corrosion caused by fingerprints.

19.Does ARMOR offer accelerated corrosion testing?

A: ARMOR Protective Packaging offers full-service, in-house, accelerated corrosion testing at NO CHARGE to its customers. We have two distinct methods to subject parts to accelerated conditions including a 100% humidity chamber and the traditional method of ovens with humidity features.

20. What are the advantages of ARMOR VCI Packaging?

A: Cost Effective Protection. VCI Vapors replenish inside contained package . Easy to apply . No grease, messy oils, surface preparation . No need to remove VCI protection before using or welding product . Vapors penetrate recessed, inaccessible areas . Provides up to 2 years of corrosion protection

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