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Wrapping it Up: VpCI® Preservation Shrink Films Technology

Submitted by Cortec

When equipment is left outdoors, it is at serious risk for suffering damage from the elements and  atmospheric corrosion. The same issue is at stake for those who own or ship metal products or components: corrosion is something they will need to address. Without using corrosion protection in their packaging materials, companies will be forced to use other, more expensive solutions in order to avoid corrosion.

Corrosion is the chemical process that occurs when metal begins to combine with other elements in the air, such as oxygen. It has the effect of greatly damaging metals. It is therefore crucial for any item that has bare metal to be protected from corrosion before shipping.

Traditional methods of protection are far from ideal. They can be costly and require a significant amount of time and cleanup effort once the shipment has been received. They are also not feasible: for example, shipping an engine with all the metal surfaces painted with an anticorrosion coating would result in issues with the engine. For this reason, a variety of corrosion protection options are needed. Multiple factors, including the type of product that is being shipped and the duration of the transportation, will determine the best method of protection.

Cortec® Corporation offers a full range of high-quality packaging materials to protect metal goods from rust and corrosion. VpCI® packaging provides a time-tested toolbox of corrosion solutions that have been used in countless industries. These tools are practical, easy to use, and reduce the need for applying hazardous and cumbersome rust preventatives. The goal is to help customers select the right “tool” for the job and then simplify the disposal of the “tools” with many recyclable, environmentally friendly options.

How Does Cortec® VpCI® Technology Work in Packaging Applications?

Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitor Technology  creates a protective environment inside each VpCI® package. Application is easy, typically with little or no surface preparation needed. Special Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors embedded in VpCI® packaging travel through the air to form an invisible protective shield on all accessible metal surfaces inside the enclosed package. This VpCI® shield does not alter metal properties. Instead, it blocks the ability of oxygen, moisture, and other corrosive elements to attack the metal surface and make it rust. After the metal part is taken out of the package, the VpCI® molecules float away, and the metal components, machinery, or products are ready for immediate use—no cleaning or degreasing required.

One of the most requested types of anticorrosion packaging is shrink wrap. Considering the flexibility, durability, and other valuable advantages of using shrink film, many companies select this option to package their products. Cortec® VpCI® films are exceptional for protection of large equipment for export shipping, stretch wrapping of steel coils, packaging of highly sensitive electronic components, shrink wrapping of new vehicles and equipment, lining containers for shipments of multiple items, and packaging of small parts in zipper closure bags. They replace conventional rust preventatives such as oils and desiccants, allowing users to save time, hassle, and labor costs by eliminating the degreasing or coating removal required in the past. Companies across the automotive, electronics, military, aerospace, and many other industries use anticorrosion packaging that enables them significant cost savings and efficiency within their business.

Shrink wrapping is an easy process requiring two basic elements: the right kind of VpCI® shrink film and heat. When shrink wrapping, the heat is applied to the film by either a conveyor heat tunnel or an electric or gas heat gun, which catalyzes the film to shrink tightly around the item placed within. This process results in a clear, durable barrier of VpCI® protection around the product.

Why Shrink Film You Ask?

  • Ease of Application
  • Eliminates the need for oils/greases
  • Cost reduction
  • Step reduction
  • Cleanliness / Environmentally friendly
  • Many already use packaging, so shrink-film packaging requires no additional steps
  • What attracts customers to shrink-film
  • Its unique ability to shape the film around a contoured, oddly shaped containers that would grab attention from conventionally shaped containers.

Cortec® Shrink Film Multimetal VpCI® Protection

Two powerful VpCI® Shrink Film Technologies are heavy duty films featuring Cortec® multimetal Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors (VpCI®): MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film and VpCI®-126 HP UV Shrink Film, both with ultraviolet (UV) light protection to maintain the integrity of the film itself as well as the parts packaged within. These shrink films replace conventional rust preventatives such as oils and desiccants. Parts protected with MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film and VpCI®-126 HP UV Shrink Film are ready to use with no additional cleaning and/or degreasing necessary, saving you time and money. They are both suited for transit, staging, and layup of critical equipment, including equipment with large void spaces, multiple metals, and complex geometries. Metal parts packaged in MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film and VpCI®-126 HP UV Shrink Film receive continuous protection against salt air and humid environments, moisture, aggressive industrial atmospheres, and dissimilar metal corrosion. The VpCIs vaporize and condense on all metal surfaces within the enclosed space and diffuse to every area of the part, protecting its exterior as well as void spaces and recessed areas. Complete product storage protection is achieved as well as protection during domestic and overseas shipments.


Strong Winds

A world-renowned air force completed long-term testing of Cortec’s MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film on several Halvorsen 25K aircraft cargo loaders. This equipment needed to remain in the air force’s inventory for up to 30 years. It was found that, after periods of six months to three years, this equipment showed outstanding resistance to corrosion after being treated with a variety of Cortec® products at the start of the testing. The area was hit by three major hurricanes in one year at the locations where the testing was taking place. One hurricane swept through the region with winds of 150 mph (240 km/h), making it a strong Category Four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. These winds damaged or destroyed thousands of homes, uprooted trees, and left more than two million residents without power. Less than a month later, a Category Two hurricane struck the region with winds of 105 mph (170 km/h). Despite the storms and the massive amounts of saltwater and debris hurled through the air, Cortec’s MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film protected the Halvorsen loaders. With a few minor cuts and abrasions, the MilCorr® withstood the most powerful element of all—Mother Nature. Through all of the testing periods, the loaders met all test parameters and performed just as well as before.

Two Stage Process

A major oil and gas company had problems with corrosion on critical oil and gas equipment (flanges, valves, etc.). Cortec® offered a two-stage process as a solution. The first step was surface preparation. This included the use of MCI® Super Remover to clean off any mud or hardened soil present on used equipment. VpCI®-423 was applied as needed to remove rust, and VpCI®-416 was used to rinse the equipment. Equipment was wrapped in either VpCI®– 126 Shrink Film or MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film, depending on the expected length of storage or the severity of the storage conditions. The work was successfully performed and the customer was very satisfied with the methods because they did not require mechanical work (such as grinding, water blasting, sandblasting, etc.) and are very efficient, especially where cleaning is concerned. Work on the first container of equipment was completed in November 2019. As of May 2020, the customer continued to employ these methods as the work went forward to restore and preserve a second container of equipment.

Long Storage Times

In February of 2020 another client was supplying 18 turret brakes to be used in a portside gantry crane in Singapore. The manufacturer was not sure how long the units would be held in storage and needed a way to inhibit corrosion for at least 365 days. All machine surfaces were sprayed with VpCI®-368 removable coating before wrapping the brakes in VpCI®-126 Shrink Film and packing them in crates. A crate holding spare parts and a control panel was also packed with VpCI®-308 Pouches inside for corrosion protection. The brakes were scheduled for shipment at the end of February and were well-equipped for preservation during shipping and an indefinite period of storage.

Harsh Storage Environments

A client in Qatar required two years of corrosion protection and preservation while storing one of their largest cooling units, supporting sub tanks, smaller units, pipes, and flanges. The harsh storage environment of 50 °C (122 °F), 90% relative humidity, daily temperature fluctuations, and fine blowing sand had to be taken into consideration. Rust-removal was not required prior to preservation because the equipment was new. Desicorr® VpCI® Pouches were placed in the internals of all units to absorb humidity and inhibit corrosion. EcoPouches were then placed in internal voids and spaces to provide a continuous, self-replenishing supply of VpCI® molecules to adsorb onto metal surfaces. The equipment, pipes, flanges, and units were finally wrapped in MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film. A heat gun was used to complete the shrink-wrapping process. The customer was very pleased by the innovative, environmentally friendly storage and preservation solution and the professional service provided. There have been no corrosion issues since the equipment was preserved.

Last year, another client needed to ship new mining equipment over the ocean from Canada to Chile. The equipment consisted of hydraulic power packs and brakes for a SAG mill and ball mill at a copper mine. The client knew the equipment might not be commissioned for many months and asked that it be protected in anticorrosion shrink film to preserve integrity before startup. Cortec’s VpCI®-126 Shrink Film, 6 mil (150 µ), was used to enclose the units prior to placing them in custom-made crates. The units were shipped to Chile in a marine container at two different times several months apart. The client was happy with the protective packaging solution provided to ensure preservation during a storage period of possibly eight to ten months.

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