AGM Container Controls receives design excellence award from the National Institute of Packaging, Handling, and Logistics.

The National Institute of Packaging, Handling, and Logistics Engineers (NIPHLE) has awarded AGM Container Controls, Inc. first place in the Material Handling Device packaging design competition. The Design Excellence Award recognizes AGM’s Vice President of Engineering, Eric Zuercher, for the development of AGM’s Thumbtack and Thumbtack Plus valves. The miniature valves are designed for use in the shipping and storage of sealed containers too small to utilize a traditional sized breather valve.

A leader in the environmental control hardware industry for six decades, AGM Container Controls, Inc. has been a proud member of the NIPHLE organization for over fifty years. Furthermore, AGM has won seven other awards from NIPHLE, including the first place prize for Material Handling Device on two separate occasions. This current award marks AGM and Zuercher’s first place achievement from NIPHLE for the second year in a row.

Sealed storage and shipping containers are subject to pressure or vacuum buildups due to diurnal temperature cycles or to altitude changes during transportation on both the ground and in the air. In order to manage this pressure build up, a breather valve is used. However, a traditional breather valve is typically ¾” to 1” in diameter, which is too large for smaller containers. As such, the Thumbtack and Thumbtack Plus valves will help to maintain the integrity of small containers and their contents by relieving the pressure and vacuum build up inside of them.

Unfortunately, miniaturizing a traditional breather valve to fit smaller containers tends to be difficult, “Building anything on a small scale requires precision pieces, which can be expensive and temperamental,” says Zuercher. “But the Thumbtack valves are simple; they’re not as sensitive to as many variables.” The key to the Thumbtack and Thumbtack Plus valve’s innovation is their one-piece elastomeric sealing element, which takes the place of the seals, springs, and supports found in a traditional breather valve. This reduction in part count reduces both the size and the overall cost of the valve.

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