Japan-based world's largest zipper manufacturer, YKK has announced a licensing deal with Green Theme Technologies (GTT) to utilize their water-free and non-toxic EMPEL™ water protection technology across its portfolio of sustainably made zippers.
EMPEL™ treats fabric via thermal curing, which employs a heated zone to promote molecular bonding and polymerization without the need for chemicals.
Green Theme Technologies is at the forefront of environmentally friendly textile finishes, and their PFC-free EMPEL platform is one of the finest performing dry fabric finishes on the market, and it's now being used on zippers for the first time.
The use of GTT's EMPEL water protection technology is in line with YKK's Sustainability Vision 2050 action plan, which aims to minimize water and chemical use through innovative new technologies.
Terry Tsukumo, vice president of YKK Global Marketing Group, said that while YKK is recognized for its excellent internal R&D, they are continuously seeking for inventive new technologies to complement their own. Without the use of hazardous chemicals, GTT's EMPEL technology provides very long-lasting water protection with unrivaled performance.
Martin Flora of Green Theme Technologies said that support from YKK comes at a critical moment when big clothing companies and textile mills must take up to make a change for the future of the planet.
YKK's slide fasteners have been used on everything from commercial fishing nets to space suits, and the company has a long history of zipper invention.
In 1994, as a pioneer in product sustainability, YKK introduced the NATULON® zipper, the first zipper composed of recycled material. Since then, YKK has expanded its eco-friendly product range to include GreenRise®, the first zipper made of plant-based polyester, and NATULON® Ocean Sourced®, a zipper manufactured from ocean-bound plastic waste.
Mike Maekawa, Category Manager at YKK Global Marketing Group, said that the EMPEL technology will allow them to produce a new generation of water protection zippers that perform better, have better flexibility, and will be more sustainable. It's a game-changing innovation in high-performance zippers.
The EMPEL platform was released by GTT in 2018 with the objective of removing harmful PFCs. EMPEL treatment rates among the best water repellency and longest-lasting protection available, in addition to being extremely sustainable. GTT and YKK intend to work with top premium brands to provide the highest quality and performance zippers available.
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