March 27, 2024

Spring means warmer weather and more drastic daily temperature swings in the Northern Hemisphere. It also signals the beginnings of “rust season” in the U.S. Midwest and other parts of the north temperate zone. By taking a few simple precautions, automakers and their suppliers can successfully navigate this sensitive period and avoid being blindsided by rust claims.

auto parts

Danger of Temperature Fluctuations

Any time a metal part goes from a warm atmosphere to a cold one, or from cold to warm, condensation and corrosion may occur. For example, when an auto part leaves a factory and is shipped on a cold truck, the moisture from the warm indoor air trapped inside the package may condense, raising corrosion risks. This can also happen as the truck passes through fluctuating temperatures, experiencing cooler mornings and evenings and warmer mid-day temperatures. When the auto parts arrive at their destination and go into the assembly plant, warmer indoor air may again cause condensation and corrosion on cooler incoming metal parts if packages are not allowed to acclimate prior to opening or, conversely, cooler plant air may cause condensation on parts coming off a hot
truck. Higher humidity during the spring and summer makes condensation problems even more likely. Two simple steps will preclude these issues.

Step One (Supplier): Add an Extra Dose of VpCI®

The first important step is to add an extra dose of Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors before the auto parts leave the supplier. While VpCI®-126 Blue Bags or other VpCI® packaging materials should always be used to provide baseline protection, adding a BioPad® is an excellent idea when corrosion risks are higher than normal, as in rust season. BioPad® is an extremely thin and flexible non-woven material containing a high concentration of Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors that diffuse throughout the enclosed package and form a protective molecular layer on metal surfaces. Since BioPad® saturates an enclosure with VpCI® chemistry much more quickly than VpCI®-126 Bags, it can be a great way to speed up the package conditioning process. In addition to being an efficient corrosion inhibitor delivery system, BioPad® is a USDA Certified Biobased Product, making it both economical and environmentally responsible to ensure an abundant supply of corrosion inhibitors at a more vulnerable time. 

Step Two (Receiver): Do Not Open the Bag Right Away

Responsibility for the second step falls on the automotive assembly plant or distributor receiving the auto parts. If those receiving the goods open the package immediately, the warm humid air inside the plant may cause condensation on cool parts that have not warmed up. Simply leaving the package closed until the parts acclimate to the indoor temperature will go a long way toward avoiding condensation corrosion.

Successfully Navigate Rust Season!

A little planning and communication make it much easier to keep auto parts rust free and ready to install. Assembly plants can coordinate with their suppliers to specify that sufficient protection is added to the package on the front end, and suppliers should advise their customers on proper handling. By working together, the auto industry can successfully navigate rust season or any temperature fluctuation throughout the year. Contact Cortec® for more automotive packaging and shipping solutions.

Keywords: auto parts, seasonal temperature swings, best practices for shipping auto parts, condensation corrosion, rust claims, rust season, corrosion risks during shipping, condensation corrosion, biobased rust preventatives, auto industry

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