Northern Technologies International Corporation
Northern Technologies International Corp. specializes in helping its customers eliminate rust and corrosion across their supply chains by designing customized solutions with its global, on-site technical service and core product line.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media
The “original” VCI plastic packaging company, Northern Technologies International Corporation (NTIC) has delivered safe and effective corrosion solutions across the globe for more than 40 years. “What sets us apart is our focus on technical service,” Technical Service Engineer Daniel Neuburger says. “Barb Nygaard, technical service senior manager, and I work in the technical services division and perform a root cause analysis of corrosion problems, often completing on-site visits of our customers’ facilities, in order to find out exactly why they are having rust problems. Then we help implement a corrosion solution to eliminate those problems.”
Based in Circle Pines, Minn., NTIC is in the business of developing and using environmentally beneficial materials science to bring value added products and services to its customers. NTIC’s main product line is the Zerust®/Excor® line of corrosion inhibiting products and services.
The Zerust/Excor line of products has been deployed by virtually every major automotive manufacturer and their automotive parts suppliers. NTIC’s sales engineers are experts in corrosion solutions for work-in-progress, packaging, shipping, storage and inventory applications. In addition to the automotive industry, NTIC’s Zerust/Excor line is also used for electronic, marine and military applications, as well as for outdoor storage and extreme environment protection, surface cleaning and rust removal, and in wastewater and oil and gas applications.
Zerust is the original VCI plastic packaging company and developed the technology for infusing VCI compounds into polymers. VCI packaging, or Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor packaging film, is a poly packaging film manufactured with added VCI chemistry. VCI molecules protect against corrosion by forming a micro-molecular thin, visible layer on the exposed metal surfaces. This layer inhibits the electro-chemical corrosion process that would otherwise occur when oxygen, moisture and metal surface contaminants are all present. VCI packaging can be made in different sizes, weights and optimized inhibitor formulations, and ordered in rolls, bags and with custom printing.
“We are the inventors of Vapor Corrosion Inhibiting or “VCI” plastic packaging and we always hold that close to our hearts because we’ve maintained our leadership in this technology for over 40 years,” Nygaard says. “It’s a great product line.”
NTIC’s technical service division helps to manage a customer’s corrosion problem from start to finish. “We take a customer’s product and understanding of their manufacturing process back to our lab and perform a lot of analytical work,” Nygaard says. “We complete corrosion testing of the parts and supply our customers not only with scientific data as to why they have a rust problem, but also a way to solve it. We save customers a lot of money because when we are called in, it’s typically because they have a rust problem that’s complicating their ability to supply their own customers.”
The company’s goal is to provide long-term solutions for the customer to mitigate corrosion. That may include further investigation to ensure all problems are corrected in their manufacturing processes to eliminate corrosion. “Not every customer has the same needs, so we have different formulations optimized to protect different metal types,” Nygaard explains. “An engine, for example, may have steel cylinder liners and an aluminum block, so we would use a VCI film formulated to protect these specific metals. Many of our competitors choose to supply a one chemistry fits all solution, but we choose to maximize the performance of our packaging by relying on multiple formulations that have been enhanced to protect specific metal types.”
NTIC provides custom solutions for each customer’s need, but Neuburger says an on-site visit is not always required and the right product can be suggested over the phone. Zerust VCI packaging films are available in many stock and custom options, and come in a range of sizes and thicknesses. The films can be made in VCI plastic sheets, tubing, J-sheeting and c-fold sheeting. Some stock options are flat VCI bags, zipper bags and VCI gusset liners.
“Every solution is unique to the customer,” Nygaard emphasizes. “If you have rust, maybe you aren’t packaging it right or maybe you can’t clean the part effectively and need a more robust solution. We have to take a step back and investigate each customer’s unique situation.”
One of the things that sets NTIC apart from the competition is its global direct presence through a network of subsidiaries and joint venture companies throughout the world. For example, NTIC’s German personnel can supervise the preparation of a customer’s trail shipment, and then NTIC US personnel can be on-site to inspect that same shipment when it arrives here. “We unwrap it and provide feedback on what happened during transit – whether there was damage to the packaging or rust on the customer’s products – and send that back in a written report within 24 to 48 hours so our technical service team in Germany can relay that information to the customer to take immediate action and mitigate any problem that might have occurred,” Nygaard says.
The company pays close attention to changes in the industries it serves to ensure its research and development team stays ahead of the competition. “If you have an electric vehicle, for example, how does it corrode differently than a combustion engine, and what types of metals are being used?” Nygaard asks. “The R&D department focuses on customers’ needs around the world as requirements in the United States may be different than in India, China or Germany. We have joint venture partners and research labs in other countries to address those concerns.”
Moving forward, NTIC will continue to focus on addressing its customers’ corrosion needs. “We really like to determine why our customers are having corrosion concerns and provide them with a solution that focuses on the problem they are having,” Neuburger concludes.