General Information about YKK

Q1. What does “YKK” stand for?

A1. YKK was founded in Japan as a zipper manufacturing company in 1934 by Tadao (pronounced in English as Tah-dah-o) Yoshida. In the early years, Mr. Yoshida’s company carried his name; it was called Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha–or “YKK” for short. (That long Japanese name translates roughly into English as “Yoshida Company Limited.”) Over the years, the letters “YKK” were stamped onto the zippers’ pull tabs, and thus YKK became known as the Company’s trademark.

Q2. Other than zippers, what product does YKK produce today?

A2. Aside from zippers, YKK also makes other fastening products–like hook & loop self-closing tape fastening systems, webbings, snaps, buttons, metal and plastic notions and buckles.

Q3. YKK has a famous philosophy: what exactly is it?

A3. Mr. Yoshida called his philosophy the CYCLE OF GOODNESS. It means that “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others.” According to his philosophy, Mr. Yoshida believed he must manufacture only useful, high quality zippers that would benefit, or enhance, the end-use goods in which they were installed. Since his product was a component in his customers’ products, and the critical moving part, he believed it would have to perform perfectly over a long period of time so that those end-use goods would last longer and perform better than others on the market. When they did, all involved would benefit. Because of this guiding principle, YKK became involved in vertical manufacturing. This means that YKK not only produces the zippers, but also the machines that make the zippers–and even many of the raw materials that go into the zippers–like the polyester and brass that make up the tape, teeth and sliders. For further details, click here.

Q4. How large is YKK?

A4. Today, YKK Corporation has 111 affiliated companies in more than 73 countries around the world. For a list of countries where we operate, click here.

Q5. Where can I find YKK products?

A5. Please refer to our contact page for your nearest YKK office.

Q6. Does YKK have an environmental policy?

A6. Yes, in 1994 YKK established a YKK Group Environmental Charter for our organisation worldwide. The basic principle of this Charter is to seek harmonisation between abundant and healthy lives for all humankind and the environment. Under this Charter, YKK will endeavour to preserve and improve the environment in all aspects of our business activities. The YKK Group established the YKK Group Environmental Charter in September 1994, and has consistently taken on environmental issues as a company-wide challenge. The principle of the Environmental Charter is to promote prosperous, healthy lives and harmonious co-existence with our environment, and to preserve and improve the environment throughout our corporate operations. Through our corporate activities, we seek to develop an environmentally friendly management style and contribute to the establishment of a recycle-type economic society by promoting environmental policies at all stages, from design and production to disposal, collection, and recycling.

Additionally, YKK SA pledges to:

Eliminate Waste — YKK will work to find better ways to manufacture our products with less toxic materials and feed-stocks thus reducing or eliminating the generation of waste.

Prevent Pollution — YKK will develop and maintain pollution prevention plans that focus on minimising waste at the source and comply with all relevant environmental legislation, regulations, and other requirements to which YKK subscribes.

Continually Improve — YKK will work diligently to continually improve the Environmental Management System (EMS) to lessen our environmental impact.

Provide Resources — YKK will provide the necessary resources and information to develop, implement, and maintain an effective EMS.

Provide Information — YKK will make the policy available to all employees and the public to provide a better understanding of YKK’s environmental commitment to the three Rs: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse.

Q7. Does YKK Southern Africa have a mission statement? What is it?

A7. As employees in the companies which comprise the YKK SA, we take great pride in our mission which is to innovate, produce, sell and service quality closures and architectural building products so that we might render benefit to society in the following ways:

Customers — by providing superior products that best meet their needs in the changing global marketplace — the components and technology which add value to their products, thereby contributing to their profitability and growth. Our trading partners also include suppliers, bankers, and other professionals. We value our relationships with them, and we will always treat them fairly.

Employees — by providing a safe and secure workplace, a respectable livelihood, and challenging opportunities to develop potential to the fullest. By welcoming and respecting different cultures and personalities within our company we become stronger. We are all “YKK Citizens.”

Communities — by providing jobs, paying taxes, and utilising local businesses. Through our individual and corporate participation, we will actively support the communities in which we work and live. As good corporate citizens, we will promote technological development and comprehensive measures to preserve and enhance the environment.

To achieve these goals, we must ensure that our company remains financially sound. Accomplishing this will require teamwork, flexibility, continuous improvement of our individual efforts, and strong, skilful leadership throughout YKK SA. The results will benefit all society as we work, grow, and prosper together.

Q8. How can I purchase stock in the YKK Company, and what’s your trading symbol on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange?

A8. YKK is a privately held company. Our stock is not for sale, and we therefore have no trading symbol. We appreciate your interest in YKK.

Q9. Where is YKK Headquarters?

A9. The worldwide parent company, still privately held, is YKK Corporation with headquarters in Japan. Administrative headquarters are in Tokyo, and manufacturing headquarters are located where the company was originally founded, in Kurobe, on the far side of the big island of Japan. YKK Southern Africa has offices in South Africa, Mauritius and Kenya.

Information about Zippers and Sliders

Q1. A slider sometimes catches on a piece of cloth when opened or closed. Is there any way to free the slider without causing damage to the cloth?

A1. Remove the trapped cloth by moving the slider back while pulling the cloth outward. Take care to avoid the possibility of the zipper getting caught when opening and closing it.

Q2. The slider does not open or close smoothly.

A2. The elements’ gears can be damaged by forcing a slider that does not open or close smoothly. Apply paraffin or the lubricating spray ZIPPYCOOL® to the front and back side of the elements and move the slider up and down several times to work in the lubricant and make the slider work smoothly.


Q3. Elements have been lost.

A3. Trying to forcibly close a zipper in a bag that has been overfilled will cause an excess load on the elements. This stress may cause the elements to slip out from the tape. This is a fatal problem with a zipper. The zipper should be closed only after bringing the two element’s sides near each other so that the slider can move more easily.


Q4. YKK produces zippers throughout the world, but are their quality and function of an equal standard globally?

A4. All the zippers produced and sold throughout the world by YKK meet the quality standards set by YKK, so there is no difference in quality and function. For further details, click here. However, special care should be taken regarding the existence of counterfeit zippers. Details on our brand protection activities can be found here.

Q5. A zipper made of or coated with nickel caused an allergic reaction on direct contact with skin. How can I avoid it?

A5. When a silver-colored metal zipper is required, choose an aluminum zipper. We offer a variety of products which meet European Nickel Directive (now part of REACH). Please ask your YKK representative for “N-ANTI” or “anti-nickel” products.

Q6. Do YKK products contain lead?

A6. Except for a few specialised items, the lead content levels of YKK products meet the following regulations & standards: CPSIA, EN71-3, and OEKO-TEX® Standard Class I. See “Laws & Regulations” for details.

Q7. Are YKK products treated for needle detection machines?

A7. YKK has researched and developed materials, surface treatments, strengths, and zipper designs to prevent false needle detection.

Q8. What are the points to be noted when using zippers in baby wear?

A8. Special zippers, such as zippers with plastic top and bottom stops, are offered for infants and kids wear. Please ask your YKK sales agent for more details.

Q9. What type of zipper works best with garments made of a thick material?

A9. Example: If a garment is made with a piece of material that has a weight of 340 grams or more, you must use at least a number four size zipper or larger. If you use a number three size zipper or smaller with this type of material, the zipper elements may break.

Q10. What should you do when material gets caught in a slider?

A10. Please leave enough room for the slider to move smoothly when sewing the zipper onto the fabric. If the slider gets caught, pull back the slider slowly before moving the fabric. Do not use excessive force to move the slider to avoid damaging pull-tab or fabric.

Q11. How can manufacturers prevent a zipper tape from becoming discoloured and worn by chemicals found in detergents?

A11. They should use a YG type zipper. We recommend this zipper because its chain is stronger than most zippers, which enables it to withstand the wear and tear caused by the washing process. After washing this zip, be sure to rinse it thoroughly to ensure that acids do not remain on the tape. Since chemicals can sometimes have an adverse effect even on this fastener, we recommend testing it after it is washed.

Q12. Can zipper tape become discoloured in a home laundry?

A12. A zipper’s tape will not usually lose its colour in a home laundry. However, discolouration may occur if the tape comes into contact with vinyl chloride, synthetic leather, or a resin coated material. When the tape comes into contact with these substances, a chemical reaction often causes it to lose its colour.

Q13. How do I prevent the zipper elements from melting during ironing?

A13. Using proper heat for the material being ironed is not limited to clothing but is also applicable to zippers. Zippers can be kept durable and beautiful by considering the material of which they are made and ironing with the proper heat. A zipper should always be closed before ironing, the slider fixed in the proper position and the zipper should be covered with a piece of cloth regardless of the material of which it is made. The slider’s pull-tab should never be ironed when erect or on the reverse side. We recommend to keep the ironing temperature below 130°C (266°F) for VISLON® zippers, below 150°C (302°F) for woven in type (EF) zippers, and below 160°C (320°F) for CONCEAL® and coil zippers.


Q14. After bundling some zippers with rubber bands, the bundled part of the zippers discoloured.

A14. Please avoid bundling zippers with rubber bands for prolonged storage.

Q15. I am concerned that a pin-lock type (DP) slider used on a pocket may hurt users.

A15. Please avoid using DP sliders where sharp points may cause injury. DP sliders are especially not recommended to use for Baby / Infant Products.

Q16. What kinds of zippers are recommended for baby/infant products?

A16. Products/features such as plastic stops are available for baby/infant products. Contact a YKK representatives for more details.

Q17. My zipper doesn’t pass the needle detection.

A17. YKK offers KENSIN® zippers, which meet the NC-A level for needle detection standards set by the Japanese apparel industry.

Q18. There’s a stain on my fabric that migrated from a metal zipper after being stone washed. Why do metal zippers cause staining after stone washing?

A18. Please see “Stain Migration from Metal Zippers during Stone / Sand Washing” in the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual for information on stain migration.

Q19. What type of zipper is recommended for stone/enzyme washes?

A19. For zippers which go through stone/enzyme washes, YZiP® fastening products are generally preferable compared to the standard type metal zippers. Please see“2-1 Why YZiP® products are recommended for Stone / Enzyme Washes?” in the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual p13 for information on stone/enzyme washes.

Q20.I have a problem with a metal zipper changing colour.

A20. There are various types of problems with metal zipper discolouration. Please see the pages below for details:

2-2 Change in Metal Zipper Colour caused by Garment Dye Treatment

2-3 Change in Metal Zipper Colour caused by Bleaching

3-2 Change In Metal Zipper Colour caused by Leather Products

3-3 Change In Metal Zipper Colour caused by Wool Products

Q21. What kind of things do I need to watch out for when using AquaGuard® water repellent zippers?

A21. Please see “3-1 Proper Usage of AquaGuard® (Water Repellent) Zippers” in the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual for the information on AQUAGUARD® zipper usage.

Q22. What do I need to watch out for when using aluminum zippers?

A22. Please see “3-4 Cautions for Aluminum Alloy Zippers” in the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual  for the information on aluminum zippers.

Q23. I’ve tried to pair up the left side of an open-ended coil zipper with the right side of another open-ended coil zipper to use in a jacket liner, but they don’t match properly.

A23. Please see “4-4 Problem with Pairing up Different Stringers” in the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual for the information on open-ended coil zipper pairing.

Q24. How can I avoid safety issues caused by the protruding edges of coil zipper elements?

A24. Please see “4-1 Proper Sewing of Coil Zippers” on page 31 of the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual for avoiding coil zipper sharp edge problems.

Q25. What do I need to know when choosing colours from the YKK Colour Card?

A25. Please see “1-3 Light Sources & Metamerism” on page 7 of the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual for information on choosing colours.

Q26. What do I need to know about washing items with zippers?

A26. A zipper should be closed and the slider fixed before cleaning. Left open, the tip of the slider may damage the fabric or the tape may become stretched or may shrink. Strong alkaline detergents or chlorine bleaching agents used to remove oil or stains dissolve paraffin or oily film and must be used with care. If a zipper does not function smoothly after cleaning, apply paraffin or the lubricating spray ZIPPYCOOL®, and work the slider up and down several times until it works smoothly.


Q27. Why does paint often come off of a slider after dry cleaning / washing?

A27. Please see “2-8 Slider Paint Chip Off” on page 21 of the Zippers Usage Instruction Manual for the information on slider paint chip-off.

Q28. What does the product code mean?

A28. Please refer to the YKK Zipper Nomenclature guide.

Information about Snaps and Buttons

Q1. What is the best foundation for attaching snap fasteners?

A1. The best foundation is two plies of fabric plus one ply of interlining.


Q2. Why do we need an interlining sewn to fabric when attaching snap fasteners?

A2. If the interlining is not sewn to the base fabric, the fabric around the snap fasteners may tear after several ON/OFF usages. Make sure that the interlining and fabric are stitched together, especially on the back placket.


Q3. Can snap fasteners be attached to an uneven thickness?

A3. Attachment to an uneven thickness may result in snap fasteners detachment, weak ON/OFF actions, or fabric tearing. Snaps cannot be attached to significant uneven thicknesses.

Q4. How can I prevent a snap fastener from turning around after it is attached to a thin piece of fabric?

A4. A snap fastener may turn around if the fabric is too thin at the attaching point. Packing is required in this case.


Q5. How can I check to make sure that the snap fasteners attached to a piece of fabric will not come off easily?

A5. Try to pluck the snap fasteners off with your fingertip or nail. Make this practice your routine at the beginning of your day’s work.


Q6. How can I avoid fabric tearing during snap fastener attachment?

A6. Make sure you attach the snap fastener to the inside of the stitch line.


Q7. Is it okay to iron snap fasteners?

A7. Do not iron directly over snap fasteners. Ironing directly over snap fasteners may cause the metallic snaps to become scratched or deformed and the plastic snaps to become broken or distorted. Place a cloth over the snap fasteners before ironing on them.

Q8. Is it okay to apply high-impact pressure to the snap fasteners?

A8. Problems such as deformation, breakage, stiff or lost ON/OFF actions may occur if too much pressure is applied to the snap fasteners.

Q9. Is it okay to place snap fasteners in a high-temperature drying machine?

A9. Plastic snaps placed in a high temperature drying machine are less resistant to deformation, discoloration, and scratching.

Q10.What is a needle detector?

A10. A Needle Detector is a piece of equipment which is sensitive to ferromagnetic substances and which detects broken needle chips or other undesirable objects inadvertently contained in the garments. Garment accessories are made to be needle-detector proof so that they will not be confused with broken needle chips and other undesirable objects.

Q11. How should I place garments on the conveyor belt when using the Needle Detector?

A11. The garments should be positioned so that their accessories enter the gate of the needle detector one at a time.


Q12. How do I clean the Needle Detector?

A12. Keep the belt surface clean at all times. Dust or stains may cause the equipment to malfunction.

Q13. Is there a recommended pull-test machine?

A13. An SafQ Snap Tester is recommended. It is used to determine the holding or breaking strength of prong-ring attached snap fasteners on garments. It consists of an upper snap clamp, a lower fabric clamp and force gauge mounted on a stand. The snap component is gripped by the upper snap clamp and the garment is fixed to the lower fabric clamp. By turning the top flywheel, the operator can apply a specific force and the holding force or the breaking strength can be recorded. Capability can be enhanced with clamps and accessories for the testing of other snaps, jeans buttons, four hole buttons and garment accessories such as zippers, bows, applique, toggles, hooks/bars, and D-rings, among others. Contact SDL Atlas Ltd. for more details.


Information about Plastic Notions

Q1. What are some cautions for using plastic hardware?

A1. Please see Information Concerning Safe Operation for information on plastic hardware.

OEKO-TEX® is a registered trademark of ÖTI-Institut für Ökologie, Technik und Innovation.