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Tuesday | 24 September, 2013 | 10:19 am

Costly corrosion

By Gretchen Salois

Moisture can be an expensive challenge when storing metal 

September 2013 - Maintaining metals inventory in itself can be costly as metals prices can shift dramatically within a few days or even a few hours. However, having inventory on hand can be a competitive advantage as many companies and service centers find themselves ordering only what is needed, making quick turnaround requests difficult to fulfill. Metal storage methods become ever more important as materials can be damaged during transport or while sitting exposed to the elements. In addition to storage, companies often need to consider shipping metal equipment from site to site, requiring a long-term solution that will extend the life of equipment.

To combat corrosion damage on ferrous and nonferrous metals, Manistee, Mich.-based Dr. Shrink Inc. has developed Multimetal ICT film, meant to be used under shrink wrap. The nontoxic and recyclable film can protect metals for up to five years. 

Shrink wrap needs aren’t equal, depending on the type of metal products you’re looking to transport. The thinnest shrink wrap is 6 mil (equal to one thousandth of an inch, or 0.0254 millimeter), for use on smaller items such as boats or smaller machinery. The wrap spans items as large as scaffolding, or for covering large items on deck ocean freight. Its largest size, 12 mil, is available with flame retardant additives, meeting NFPA701 specification for extinguishing itself. Government bids and some scaffolding items require this additional protective measure as metal items are being transported—corrosion might weaken the metal, making it hazardous for people to work under.

Meeting needs

The timing of the 20-foot-by-100-foot Multimetal Green ICT shrink wrap - 4 mil is in response to growing requests for this type of product in the industrial marketplace, according to Ryan Polcyn, vice president of marketing. “We decided we needed to offer additional protection for metal products,” he says. “Corrosion preventatives are widely used when storing or transporting metal parts and machinery. We strive to be a one-stop-shop and had to bring an innovative product to the table to accommodate this niche.”

The Multimetal ICT film is useful used in addition to shrink wrap as opposed to just shrink wrap alone because it protects metal from moisture. “Under certain conditions, moisture can form under any type of protective cover,” explains Polcyn. Moisture results in damage to metal, most notably rust and corrosion. 

The film isn’t more or less beneficial depending on the type of metal being covered. It is intended for all ferrous and nonferrous metals. Although low humidity and low heat conditions are preferable, the film can be used in all conditions and climates. 

An entire industry is dedicated to protecting metal materials from nature’s elements. Guidelines for transport differ from country to country, ensuring the material being shipped arrives in the condition it was when it left its source. Dr. Shrink’s innovation makes it clear that simply wrapping metal materials in thick plastic wrap may not provide the best possible protection. But investing in this type of safeguard could pay off in the long-term.MM

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