Tackling Corrosion with VCI Films

The U.S. imports more than two million net tons (NT) of steel every year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). Transporting this incredible volume of metal is a difficult task, not just due to complicated logistics but also due to high packaging requirements.

Metals are heavy and have sharp edges, which makes wrapping them challenging, and packaging materials must be corrosion resistant. As a result, packagers have turned to volatile corrosion inhibitor (VCI) films to safeguard their products. Read on to learn why VCI films are uniquely suited to protecting metals during transport and storage.

Protection is king

Moisture is metal’s biggest enemy. When temperatures or humidity levels change, unprotected metals can become exposed to water, oxygen, or humidity. The result is rust, with unmitigated corrosion costing the U.S. economy $276 billion every year, or 3.1% of the country’s entire GDP.

VCI film was created to simplify corrosion protection and maintain enclosed spaces during transit. The result is a stretch wrap that tackles the effects of oxidation head-on.

Also read: Outdoor Protection and Advertising with Pallet Stretch Wrap

What exactly is VCI film?

VCI film refers to the technology that halts corrosion in its tracks.

When applied, a process occurs where:

  • VCI molecules attach to the metal, migrating into recesses and near-invisible places on complex metal shapes.
  • Molecules build up on the metal surface until an oxidation-resistant barrier is formed.
  • The corrosion cell (a metal’s flow of electrons and the surface layer’s flow of ions) cannot establish itself, preventing rust.

One of the key features of the stretch wrap is that it doesn’t alter the metal’s properties. Instead, it only blocks oxygen, moisture, and other sources of corrosion from ever attaching to the metal in the first place.

Another benefit is that when the metal arrives at its destination or is needed for further production, the VCI film can be removed to leave it ready for immediate use. Warehouse operators do not have to worry about cleaning or degreasing the metal.

Who uses VCI film?

The primary user of VCI film is the steel and aluminum industry. These materials need excellent containment and cling, as the less cling there is, the higher the likelihood of water vapor affecting the metal. Metal’s sharp edges also require high puncture resistance, as even a small nick in the wrap can mean a high cost due to product loss. As a result, the industry has come to rely on VCI film to wrap products during transit and storage.

Another essential factor of stretch wrap is its shorter shelf-life. Inventory needs to be turned quickly, with the stretch wrap ideally sitting in storage no longer than a year. This is to prevent degradation and protect the product from moisture. Luckily, due to the high demand for steel and aluminum, the stretch wrap is ideally suited to the industry’s fast pace.

Stretchtape’s high-quality VCI film

Due to the high costs of importing metals and the even higher costs of losing product to oxidation, investing in suitable protection is a no-brainer.

Packagers need expert partners providing VCI film that:

  • Prevents rust and corrosion
  • Is ideally suited to the steel and aluminum industry
  • Can be used for ferrous and nonferrous metals
  • Does not require any further liquids or grease

Stretchtape’s Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) film features high barrier resistance against oxygen and water vapor. It is ideally suited to wrapping metal such as steel while providing a corrosion inhibitor that stops rust from affecting products. Stretchtape also provides the ability to print designs and labels on the stretch wrap, improving efficiency and creating avenues for marketing opportunities.

Find a distributor today.