All About Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors (VCI)

What is VCI?

Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors or Vapour Corrosion Inhibitors (VCI) are chemical compounds that release vapors into enclosed spaces to prevent corrosion on a metal surface. They protect metal parts from rusting while in use, in storage, or transit. The Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) is a chemical substance that reduces corrosion and is ideal for keeping enclosed void spaces rust-free. They have sufficient vapour pressure to release molecules from the compound into the air. VCIs come in various formulations, for example, films, oils, coatings, cleaners, etc. There are also a variety of formulations that protect ferrous, nonferrous, or multi-metal applications.

Corrosion happens when an electrolyte is present on the surface of a metal. The 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. With the presence of VCI, electrical current cannot flow from the anode through the electrolyte into the cathode. The VCI molecules attach themselves to a metal surface to form an invisible, thin film to protect the metal from corrosion.

VCI comes in various selections such as VCI papers, liquids, films, bags, emitters, powders, sprays, and many more to cater to different market needs.

  • VCI Paper – Available for applications that require metal products to be wrapped or layered inside a container. The paper is coated with VCI on both sides, providing all-around protection.
  • VCI Film – Ideal for more oversized items and equipment. They are available in film rolls that unwind and reveal a plastic film that uses vapor corrosion inhibitors to coat and protect metal surfaces from corrosion.
  • VCI Liquid – Once the VCIs have adsorbed on the surface of the metal, they form a hydrophobic barrier that prevents moisture from penetrating the metal
  • VCI Emitter – Lightweight, slim, and compact disks containing corrosion that allow accessibility into tight and restricted spaces to provide rust protection
  • VCI Bags – Coated completely with VCI compounds that serve as barriers between the metal and the corrosive substance. Ideal for assembly and packaging lines
  • VCI Powder – Lay-up, preservation, and mothball applications protect the void areas of interior cavities. Applied by dusting, fogging enclosures with a low-pressure air hose or as a solution

VCI technology has many advantages. As suggested, it typically does not require the special removal of a coating or greasy rust preventative, reducing labor time and hazardous waste disposal fees from cleaning off traditional petroleum-based rust preventatives—often with solvent-based cleaners. It also solves the problem of protecting intricate equipment internals (e.g., pipes, boilers, valves) where it would be difficult if not impossible to apply a coating or liquid rust preventative. VCIs do not require a constant source of electricity as needed for dehumidification systems. VCI technologies protect multiple metal types and work in various phases — liquid, vapor, and interface — so they can be used to inhibit corrosion on metal surfaces below and above the fluid level in water treatment or oil and gas applications. The characteristics of VCI packaging material work together to save time and money and offer more thorough, reliable, and easier-to-use protection than various other metals preservation strategies.

VCI protection is a function of:

  • Metals that need protection
  • VCI chemicals used and their effects on the metals
  • Water solubility and the effectiveness of the VCI in the presence of moisture/humidity

Different types of VCI Brand In the Market

VCI has many types of brands in the market: We (Humipak Sdn Bhd) try to cooperate with each of them depend on customers’ needs.

  • CORTEC
  • Branopac
  • Armor Protective Packaging
  • OJI PAPER
  • Daubert VCI
  • Zerust
  • RustxUS
  • LPS Industries
  • Transilwrap (Metpro)
  • Protective Packaging Corporation
  • RBL Industries
  • Technology Packaging Ltd
  • Protopak Engineering Corp
  • Green Packaging

VCI Paper or VCI Film User VCI Paper/VCI Film is frequently used to wrap metals during transportation or storage to prevent corrosion. When the VCI Film is in direct contact with the metal, VCI molecules adsorb on the metal surfaces, creating an invisible molecular barrier against corrosive elements such as oxygen, moisture, and chlorides. As VCI molecules vaporise out of the film and diffuse throughout the package, they also form a protective molecular layer on metal surfaces. The molecular layer is not in direct contact with the film. When the packaging is removed, the VCI molecules will vaporise and float away.

At Humi Pak Sdn Bhd, we offer easy-to-use and cost-effective VCI Papers made from natural kraft or paper. Wrap the metal components or products, fold the edges so that the air does not flow to the packaged product. Adhesive tape can be used for holding the paper folds together. The Volatile Chemical Inhibitors molecules present in the paper vaporise to form a protective coating on the metal surface wrapped within the VCI Paper. We can also provide custom VCI Papers in bags, wraps, and sheets in different materials, qualities, and sizes. We have all data sheets to provide and technical support.

Types of VCI Films

We have VCI Films in Yellow Ferrous VCI Film, Green Multimetal VCI Film, and many more which generally consists of polyethylene film.

  • Odourless, safe, non-toxic, recyclable
  • 2 years of protection
  • Protects: Ferrous metal, Non-ferrous metal
  • Ideal for large and rough handled assemblies, frames, stampings, door
  • Transparent: Easy inspection and parts identification

Benefits of using VCI Film

  • Effective corrosion protection and packaging combined into one step
  • Recyclable
  • Provide safe and effective VCI protection
  • VCI molecules are spread through diffusion
  • Material ready for use immediately out of the packaging

Application of VCI Film

VCI Film is also available in a variety of colours and thicknesses (from 25 to 250 microns), in sheeting, tubing, flat and gusseted bags, skin, stretch and shrink film, elasticated masking bags and drawstring bags. They can be branded if required.

  • Customisable size
  • Zipper bag
  • Gusset bag
  • Flat bag
  • Pre-opened bags on a roll
  • Perforated bags on a roll
  • Shrouds
  • Engine bag
  • Bin liners
  • Tubing

Why do we need to use VCI?

  • Easy to apply (no grease and messy oils)
  • No surface preparation needed
  • Cost-effective corrosion protection
  • Improved safety and pollution control
  • No need to remove VCI protection, eliminating extra processing steps
  • Extend equipment life
  • Corrosion and packaging costs can be reduced while packaging performance increases.
  • Easy application – Simply place metal parts into VCI packaging and seal tightly. After a few hours in the VCI packaging, when the parts are removed, they will be clean, dry and corrosion free – ready for immediate use. No extra processing necessary.
  • The VCI packaging products can be adapted to the metal product sizes, which contributes to space savings and makes for easy handling.
  • VCI packaging films, bags and papers are safe for people, and are recyclable. They also reduce waste caused by corrosion.
  • Since metals have unique characteristics like different sizes, shapes, and weights, they need different forms of corrosion protection. Select VCI products that prevent rust and corrosion on all types of metals and alloys.
  • VCI packaging provides comprehensive protection for metal parts and components, not only against corrosion but also against mechanical influences during transportation and storage.
  • VCI has a 5-year shelf life. Components in storage are protected from corrosion for up to five years. (For all items we have a technical data sheet to proof.)

Where can VCI be used at?

VCI can be used in the Steel Industry, Automotive Industry, and many more.

Automotive Industry
  • Craft Process: Processing, cleaning, drying, anti-rust
  • Products Available: Rust Remover Anti-Rust Agent, Water-based Cleaning VCI Agent, VCI oil, paper, film, and cushion material
  • Applications: Used for the interprocess cleaning, the Rust Remover can remove the rust caused by the impertinent pre-treatment
Steel Industry 
  • Craft Process: Rolling, galvanisation, coating, anti-rust, packaging
  • Products Available: Rust Remover, VCI paper, stretch film, oil, film/paper with woven material, and cushion material
  • Applications: The Rust Remover can be used for surface cleaning before annealing; VCI Oil can be used in the finishing process; VCI Paper and Film are used for the anti-rust packaging for all kinds of cold rolled, galvanised, coated steel and other alloys during storage and overseas transportation

Case Studies For VCI

Title: Power Train Manufacturer Saves Over $30.000 a year with the use of VCI Bag

Problem

A Tier 1 automotive powertrain manufacturer started producing a new part that required Zerust® VCI protection during shipment to the end-user. The manufacturer had an existing supply of Zerust® 2 mil Ferrous Yellow VCI bags. However, the VCI bags were too large for their new application, and they found their employees were spending extra time on close winding the excess material into a twist to seal the VCI bag closed in the returnable tote. They contacted Zerust® to find a streamlined solution to make it easier for their employees to pack and close the VCI bags, allowing them to save on time and material costs.

Solution

A local Zerust® representative visited the customer’s facility to measure the tote used for their new part, and a new optimal VCI bag size was calculated. Samples were produced and a test fit exercise was conducted on-site at the production line by the Zerust® representative. Easier for their employees to pack and close the VCI bags, allowing them to save on time and material costs.