Opening up a container to discover corrosion on metal items is frustrating. It often means lost time, missed deadlines and unhappy people in your supply chain. The loss or rework of the corroded items plus the impact on business all total up to a significant cost. Corrosion can be complicated and may be caused by a combination of factors during manufacturing and storage. The good news is there are some simple steps you can take to eliminate common sources of damage to your metal assets right away.

To look for some causes of corrosion, one of the best places to start is the handling and packaging of the parts. These are some things you can do no matter what type of packaging you are using.

1. Wear Clean Gloves

Are workers using clean gloves? Are they using gloves at all? Hands and even dirty gloves are sources of soils and contaminants that cause corrosion. Provide clean gloves to workers handling and packing parts and educate them it is important to switch them out regularly or when the gloves become soiled.

clean gloves

2. Pack Only Clean and Dry Metals

Water and metalworking residues are top sources of corrosion. Metals need to be dry and clean of contaminants and residues before packing them or else they don’t stand a chance against corrosion.

dry metals

3. Pack Metals at the Same Temperature as the Room Temperature

If metals are packaged when they are still warm or hot, humidity can condense on the metal surface when it cools and become a source of corrosion. Waiting until parts are the same temperature as ambient temperature reduces the risk of condensed moisture inside the packaging.

room temperature

The next tips are specifically for VCI packaging users. VCI stands for Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor. VCI packing products work by diffusing molecules that inhibit corrosion.  The molecules form a thin, protective layer on a metal surface. This invisible layer prevents moisture and environmental elements from reacting with the metal surface and causing corrosion. VCI packaging is available in many delivery systems, such as VCI gusset linersVCI film sheetingVCI kraft paper sheets and even drop-in VCI diffusers.

Here are three tips to keep in mind to maximize the effectiveness of your VCI packaging products.

4. Tightly close packages

VCI can only work in an enclosure so make sure that VCI bags are tightly closed. Fold or roll them closed and then secure the package with tape or tie closed. Poly VCI bags can be heat sealed and some bags come with a built-in zipper closure. Make sure that they are folded so that any water falling on them cannot enter and will roll off.

tightly closed

5. Use Enough VCI Packaging

The VCI molecules need to reach the metal surfaces to protect them. For tightly packed parts or large packages with solid dunnage system layers, add VCI sheeting or diffusers to each layer. A packaging engineer can help you design a system and determine how to best configure your packages for the best results.

6. Prevent metals from touching cardboard and wood

Pallets and containers made of cardboard and wood are common sources of corrosion issues. They contain moisture, acids and other contaminants that cause rust. Line containers with VCI gusset bags and shield metals from corrosive cardboard using VCI poly film or Kraft paper sheets.