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Trims Supplier YKK Shifts Production in Fight Against Coronavirus

The world’s largest zipper manufacturer is the latest company to throw its support behind the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

YKK USA announced last week it is partnering with customers and government contractors to manufacture in-demand supplies for medical workers at all four of its main U.S. manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia and California.

Considered part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Industry by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, YKK is continuing to work despite calls for lockdowns. The company said it is abiding by strict safety protocols to ensure employee well-being.

Alabama-based Tape Craft Corporation, a YKK subsidiary, is working with Ford Motor Company to produce face shields. Last week, the company provided 85,000 elastic straps for the motor company, which will produce the masks in its Michigan facilities. Tape Craft also offered YKK’s hook and loop fasteners, plastic buckles and cord-stoppers as potential alternative materials.

In Kentucky, YKK Inc. Snap and Button Products is supplying snaps, machinery and expertise to its clients that have shifted their production to face shields.

Beyond masks, YKK USA facilities in Georgia are providing products for the police, fire and medical support communities, as well as materials for mission-critical orders from the U.S. government. It’s supplying airtight, watertight and moisture-repellant zippers for isolation chambers and Level B Hazmat suits. The company’s facilities in California are providing these zippers for negative pressure tent prototypes that can be used for isolation, too.

YKK is also providing its apparel customers with fastening products for medical masks, hospital gowns, and medical beds and bedding, as a growing number of customers switch to protective gear production.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting us with challenges we could not imagine just a few months ago,” said Jim Reed, YKK Corporation of America’s president. “We look forward to partnering with other organizations to provide much needed assistance to the industries fighting COVID-19.”