YKK Develops AquaGuard® NATULON®,
an Environmentally Friendly Water Repellent Zipper

Replacing the conventional water repellent zipper with a green specification water repellent zipper with a tape made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Tokyo, Japan (October 13, 2022) – YKK Corporation has developed an environmentally friendly water repellent AquaGuard® NATULON® zipper. Beginning this month, YKK will spend about one year gradually replacing the conventional water repellent AquaGuard® zipper with the environmentally friendly AquaGuard® NATULON® zipper, which 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 not only adopted a green specification using recycled PET tape and a fluorine-free water repellent, but also improved the zipper’s opening/closing operability as well as the appearance of the zipper.

Key Points of the AquaGuard® NATULON® Zipper Development

(1) Switching to a green specification as an initiative toward achievement of the YKK Sustainability Vision 2050

YKK announced the YKK Sustainability Vision 2050, which is the Company’s sustainability goal for achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Goals were set up under five themes: climate change, material resources, water resources, chemical management, and respect of people. YKK is engaged in initiatives to achieve ten Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to these themes.

By using recycled PET for the tape, the AquaGuard® NATULON® zipper contributes to resource utilization and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, switching the main material used in the water repellent finish (film) 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.

(2) Improvement of zipper opening/closing operability

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 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.

▼Improvement of the zipper sliding force (reference value: as compared with conventional AquaGuard® zippers)
No.3 CZT8: Improvement of about 40% / CZT10: Improvement of about 20%
No.5 CZT8: Improvement of about 30% / CZT9: Improvement of about 20% / CZT10: Improvement of about 30%
*Item Codes: T8: Shiny Transparent film; T9 Matte Colored film; T10: Matte Transparent film
*The operability differs according to the type of slider and surface processing

(3) Improvement of appearance

By reviewing the zipper chain configuration and processing conditions, a flatter appearance has been achieved.
*T8 and T10 indicate item codes

Conventional AquaGuard® (top image)
AquaGuard® NATULON® (bottom image)
(Comparison of the AquaGuard® zipper and the AquaGuard® NATULON® zipper appearance)

Comment from Hisashi Yoneshima, Vice President, Product Strategy & Development Division, Global Sales Division

“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. 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.”

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