For manufacturers of products made of both ferrous (iron) and non-ferrous metals, nothing is more important than making sure the products are safe from corrosion. For this reason, many companies opt to use Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) bags and film to help protect their products from profit-deflating corrosive elements. VCI film is especially unique because corrosion inhibitors are extruded right into the polyethylene film, which is then converted into bags. One of the biggest benefits of VCI bags is that they eliminate the need for protective but messy oils and greases! Here are a variety of things to consider before ordering VCI bags:
1. What type of product are you putting into the VCI bag? What is its individual metal composition? What type of environment will it be subjected to? Inform your supplier of all these details, as there are many different types of VCI bags, made with different ingredients and in different thicknesses (typically 2-8 mil thick) to accommodate the different compositions of the metals being placed inside. Your VCI bag can be custom-blended to suit your particular needs. In addition, you should think about how your products will be shipped and stored. Extreme temperatures and environmental conditions will require extra protection.
2. What size is the product you are putting in the VCI bag? Depending on the size and dimensions of your product, you may choose a flat, zippered or gusseted bag. Gusseted bags allow more room for products that are larger or more three-dimensional. When determining the size of the bag, the rule of thumb is that the bag should be one-square-foot for every 1-3 square feet of metal surface. You should use at least one-square-foot for every cubic foot of empty space.
3. To guarantee your product will remain safe from corrosion, make sure you always handle your product with gloves. Oils and residues from your hands could cause long-term corrosive damage. Also, remember that your VCI bag does not have to be air-tight, but it helps. You can open and close the package as much as you want, but know that once the VCI protective layer is exposed to air, it will begin to dissipate. With the proper formulation and the right handling, your VCI bags could protect for many years.
4. Make sure the product is as close to the film as possible. Most suppliers will recommend the product be at least 12 inches from the film. The closer it is, the better the protection.
5. How often do you expect to be reordering your VCI bags and film? Many vendors offer automatic replenishment, safety stock and just-in-time delivery at no additional cost to you. Also, you can order VCI bags on rolls or in sheets, depending on which is most convenient. If you can use a stock size, you are more likely to have quicker turnaround times since you will not have to worry about extra time for a custom order.
In closing, VCI bags can protect both ferrous and non ferrous metals and these 5 suggestions will only enhance their effectiveness. Keep in mind that every packaging situation is different, so rely on your packaging professional for guidance and direction.
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