Why should I use a Contact Corrosion Inhibitor?

Corrosion is the enemy of everyone who works with metal.  From tiny, freshly machined components to entire earth-moving vehicles, unless you work exclusively in stainless steel or expensive, exotic materials, you will be familiar with the issues caused by rust, oxidation, damp environments and delays to production processes.

How quickly can corrosion set in?

Pinprick rust can begin as soon as four hours after machining or casting ferrous metals.  Barely visible at first, parts which look pristine when packed away can have obvious corrosion forming after a period in storage or a long journey.  Shipping is particularly challenging, with products exposed to the worst possible conditions including salt and moisture laden air, acidic vapours from wooden packing crates and extremes of temperature.

How can I protect my products?

Traditionally, metal parts have been dipped, sprayed or painted with thick, greasy coatings to prevent rust from starting.  These are messy, can be unreliable as they drain away under gravity, and need to be wiped or washed off before the parts can be used. More permanent protection is afforded by painting, galvanising, plating and powder-coating but this is only appropriate for finished products and often only applied to parts that are on show, leaving parts vulnerable up until the finishing stage with internal and hidden parts unprotected altogether.

Steelgard is the name Vapor-Tek gave to its range of Contact Corrosion Inhibitors.  These products are predominantly solvent-deposited, ultra-thin film, dewatering corrosion inhibitors.  That’s quite a mouthful – what it means is that when you apply Steelgard:

  • The solvent carrying the active ingredients quickly evaporates
  • Leaves behind an incredibly thin, transparent, lubricating protective film (2 microns for Steelgard GP)
  • Powerful water displacer dries surfaces as it is applied and protects from humidity and condensation
  • No need to remove in most cases
  • Easy, quick and clean to apply

Does it feel greasy?

Some Steelgard formulations can feel slightly oily to the touch so we developed Steelgard TD (Touch Dry) for applications where it is important to leave a touch-dry, non-oily film for better handling and presentation.

Can Steelgard protect my shipments on long voyages?

We developed Steelgard Export specifically to resist the severely corrosive salt and acid conditions and extremes of temperature experienced during deep-sea exporting and air-freighting.  It is also excellent for very long term storage.  The residual film is still only 10 microns thick and is self-healing so resists knocks and bumps from handling.  Our client JCB unexpectedly tested Steelgard Export on an equatorial crossing for us – having coated a shipment of Backhoe Loaders destined for Australia.  The engineers reported back that, unlike traditional coatings, it did not harden or stiffen even at the extremely high temperatures encountered, and was easily jetwashed off the pristine, yellow paintwork on arrival.

What about military applications?

Military vehicles are often laid up for long periods and need to be kept in perfect condition, ready for action at a moment’s notice.  Steelgard GP was manufactured to meet the requirements of Ministry of Defence Standard DEF, STAN, 68-10 (PX-24) and has held this standard since its inception.  It also meets NATO Code C-634 and has been approved for use by various British and foreign aerospace, engineering and government organisations.  We are proud that Steelgard GP is used on the British nuclear submarine fleet and for maintenance of jet engines made by Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney, it has quite a pedigree!

What is it for?

One of the hardest jobs when you make a multi-use wonder product is explaining what it does.  Steelgard’s main purpose is to prevent corrosion.  As a Contact Corrosion Inhibitor, as long as it is touching a surface, it is inhibiting rust from starting.  Of course it also lubricates, disperses water, starts damp engines and keeps moving parts free from seizing.  Squirt on anything that moves or is made of metal for great results and long term protection.  Around the home it fixes squeaking hinges; loosens stiff locks and seized joints; dewaters and protects mountain bikes after cleaning; stops screw heads from rusting in the bathroom; cleans contacts in electronic assemblies.

Steelgard isn’t just one wonder product though, it comes in multiple formulations designed for specific purposes, some of which are, admittedly, quite niche and reflect our commitment to find a solution for every corrosion problem:

Steelgard AR – our acid resistant formulation is intended mainly for dipping freshly pickled and washed steel.

Steelgard RP – the RP stands for Rust Preventative, this is our thickest grease which needs to be applied by brush for really heavy duty applications.  Gives indefinite protection.

Steelgard Universal – gives extra protection to non-ferrous metals, perfect for electrical equipment and other mixed-metal assemblies.

Some of our customers come up with their own uses for Steelgard – one even adds it to glue!

How do I apply it?

For industrial applications it really depends on the use.  We can supply Steelgard GP in any size from a 400ml aerosol can, ideal for workshops or to keep in your garage at home, to standard 210L drums.  Products can be dipped, sprayed, brushed or swabbed and we can supply all formulations with a marker/indicator dye to ensure full coverage.

Some versions require a slightly different approach – RP grease is applied by brush and the operator can then control the film thickness.

How long does it last?

Under normal storage and transportation conditions, our literature suggests protection lasts up to two years but in our experience, and that of many of our customers, it is actually much longer.  At Vapor-Tek’s factory we have some steel panels on the wall in our storage area which were coated with one of the earliest formulations of Steelgard.  Unheated and prone to blasts of cold, damp air every time the doors are opened, they have stayed pristine for well over 30 years now!

About Vapor-Tek

Vapor-Tek produces a range of high-performance corrosion preventatives from its premises in Bolton.  As well as the Steelgard range, we offer Vaporol, a Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) to protect the inside of things plus a water-based version Aquavap, which has all the benefits of Vaporol in an aqueous formulation, which can be rinsed away if required.

Whatever your corrosion problem, we have a clean, simple and cost-effective product to prevent it.  For friendly advice, further information or to place an order call Vapor-Tek today on 01204 521795 or e-mail colin@vapor-tek.co.uk