VCI (Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor) Products for Protection of Electronics and Electrics

Masters of Disaster: Rusty Invaders
Is vapor corrosion inhibiting chemistry the answer to a telecom prayer?

In the connectivity business, signal continuity, extended component life, increased reliability and reduced downtime are all critical service quality issues. Digital and analog systems may require frequent search and rescue missions. New replacement hubs, switches, bridges, and connectors may restore signal flow to cables and wires that have fallen prey to atmospheric corrosion. Replacements are expensive and may cost valuable time.

It’s all in the attitude

An example of an industry search and rescue mission is an installer that replaced a cell sight antenna repeatedly, in a very short period of time. Shortly after each replacement, the antenna’s power output continued to drop — a repeat of the original problem. Was there a transmitter problem? No. The culprit was a corroded support bolt that was interfering with the originating transmitted signal with its own sympathetic vibrations. Three antennas were replaced before the culprit was discovered. Worst yet, nothing was done to prevent future corrosion at other potential corrosion sites. The installer’s mentality was; "if it fails again, we’ll go out and fix it — again." This attitude hurts everyone. Even though the primary cause of electrical and electronic failure is loss of continuity caused by corrosion, many component manufacturers avoid metal protection fearing signal loss or signal alteration. The fact is that few installers or manufacturers concern themselves with life extension past expected duty life.

Where there is an elevated potential for corrosion, electrical and Products for Protection of Electronics and Electrics experience protracted downtime and turn-around time due to frequent service calls and replacement. Humidity, acid rain, and salt-laden atmospheres may, and do, literally consume circuitry conductors. Traditional corrosion prevention technologies are oftentimes less than effective. In other words, it was less costly to react to failures than to try to prevent them. Even though the impact of corrosion prevention reduces maintenance, extends the life of hardware, and provides over-all better quality customer service, many fail to recognize this issue. In fact, extending electrical and/or electronic life and performance on an ongoing basis is not a common practice. Instead companies opt for replacement over pro-active protection and maintenance. This is a plan for disaster.

Preventing losses

Connectivity businesses may incur replacement and labor costs from $25,000 to $500,000 per occurrence to maintain equipment at peak operational capacity. According to studies by Battelle Research, the effects of corrosion costs American business more than $350 billion in lost revenues each year. Most of these losses may be prevented. Our new age electronics are being treated with old age solutions. As much as 90 percent of the traditional corrosion protection methods used are using toxic ingredients and out of date petroleum-based technologies. Today, new and innovative high-tech corrosion control solutions are real, they work, and they don’t impact the environment. They are called Cortec Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors. This technology is a breakthrough in the way we traditionally think about protecting electronics.

Cortec Corp. is one leader in research and development of VCI — vapor corrosion inhibiting chemistry for the telecommunication’s industry. VCIs are used on high- and low-voltage applications, RF equipment, contacts, switches, and circuits and many telecommunication components. VCIs do not alter characteristics such as dielectric strength, resistance and electrical, electronic, or optical characteristics. VCIs defend against corrosion at a mono-molecular level, protecting metals electrochemically with a barrier that re-heals and self-replenishes itself. The technology works at the free ion level to actually change and neutralize the galvanic composition of a corrosion cell site. It works in high humidity and even high salt environments. (It’s used by the Navy onboard ships). This technology changes everything. It’s easy, fast, sure fire, and doesn’t contain any carcinogens or ingredients that may harm the environment. It’s the 21st century technology corrosion solution for 21st century electronics.

In today’s electronics, corrosion destroys at unseen micro-crystalline levels. As electronic circuits become more micro, corrosion won’t reduce; in fact, the effects will be even more devastating. When electrons stop flowing, communication components fail. VCIs prevent these failures. For pennies, a cell phone could be protected with VCI technology that would virtually eliminate electronic failure. From electronic interface connections, control boards, cellular components, and antennas — telecommunications companies leave high-end missions to environmental chance. Something as simple as a rusty bolt or a corroded chip may dash the promise of real-time connectivity and result in consumer dissatisfaction and unrecoverable profit loss.

Corrosion prevention is the solution. Lowering the risk of component failure reduces product liability, and the loss of customer good will. Advanced chemical technologies, such as Cortec VCIs have been developed with superior results letting high-capacity infrastructures work efficiently sparing limited customer access. The growing market must meet increased demands for service, training, replacement positions for additional technicians, and advanced technologies that improve product performance and longevity.

With newer, faster, and smaller e-technologies looming on the horizon, customers are demanding more. The viability and reliability of networks are dependent on transmission wire media and metal construction. All of these systems are susceptible to environmental destruction. Replacement may serve the economics of supplier and distributor, but does not serve the customer. Prevention is the necessary and reasonable solution.

Oleh Artym is marketing director for Rawn America, a division of Cortec. He may be reached via e-mail at