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YKK’s Water-Repellent Zipper Is Eco-Friendly, Too

YKK Corporation has developed an environmentally friendly water repellent AquaGuard Natulon zipper and will spend about one year gradually replacing its conventional water repellent AquaGuard zipper with the new version that has a tape made of recycled PET plastic.

The AquaGuard zipper has a polyurethane laminated water repellent tape and has been well received by customers for the 20 years since its launch in 2002. For the recently developed AquaGuard Natulon zippers, YKK adopted a green specification using recycled PET tape and a fluorine-free water repellent, and improved the zipper’s opening-closing operability, as well as the appearance of the closure.

YKK’s Sustainability Vision 2050 to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 includes climate change, material resources, water resources, chemical management and respect of people. By using recycled PET for the tape, the AquaGuard Natulon zipper contributes to resource utilization and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, switching the main material used in the water repellent finish to one that is fluorine-free also leads to improvement of the manufacturing process environment. This move also meets the tightening of organic fluorine compound usage regulations in Europe and elsewhere.

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The AquaGuard zipper is being widely used in wear and gear for fields such as sports and hardcore outdoor activities, including mountain climbing. In such items as sportswear, there are many situations in which the wearer needs to open or close a zipper while moving or wearing gloves. For this reason, the zipper used needs to open and close smoothly.

To ensure that AquaGuard Natulon zippers can be used in such fields without worry, YKK said it made improvements to the structure of zipper parts, such as the chain and slider, improving the pin insertion and the sliding force when opening and closing the zipper. By reviewing the zipper chain configuration and processing conditions, a flatter appearance has been achieved.

“The AquaGuard Natulon zipper fulfills the desires of our customers that had been expressed in the past for a switch to green specifications, as well as to improve operability,” Hisashi Yoneshima, vice president of the product strategy and development division of the YKK global sales division, said. “The improvement of its appearance has also been achieved, and the zipper has been reborn into one that can be used with even less worry. YKK will continue to pursue further functionality of its fastening products, while promoting the development of products that are friendly to the environment and will contribute to the achievement of a sustainable society.”