YKK Develops ECO-DYE®, a waterless dyeing technology for zippers
As a leading company in the manufacture of fastening products, YKK is concerned with protecting the world’s water resources and eliminating substance that are harmful to the environment. To address these concerns, YKK has developed a waterless dyeing process for dyeing zippers at its factory in Kurobe, Japan where it is currently testing this new technology. Called ECO-DYE®, this new development contributes to a reduction of waste water in the production process and it eliminates toxic and harmful substances both in production and products.
The ECO-DYE® waterless dyeing process involves applying supercritical fluid dyeing (SFD), an innovative waterless dyeing technology that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) instead of water as a dyeing medium. The dyeing is done by utilizing carbon dioxide in a “supercritical fluid” state, which is achieved by controlling the temperature and pressure in which carbon dioxide has characteristics of both gas and liquid.
The use of carbon dioxide makes it possible to reduce the water use to nearly zero, and it can be collected and recycled. This waterless dyeing process also achieves the same high quality and look of conventionally-dyed YKK® zippers. In addition, it does not require drying. Thus it is expected to contribute to a reduction of energy use.
In November of 2016, YKK Corporation received the Japan Institute of Design Promotion’s Good Design Award for the ECO-DYE® waterless dyeing technology for zippers. This award recognized ECO-DYE® for its resolution of issues related to the dyeing process, including those related to quality, energy conservation and the work environment, as well as its environmental friendliness.
An additional benefit to this new waterless dyeing technology is that it will allow for zipper production in regions where the water quality is poor or the water-related environment is unsuitable for dyeing. Thus, ECO-DYE® has been recognized for enabling the possibility of new capital investment and business.
As stated in its environmental pledge, YKK strives to be an earth-friendly company that is concerned with preserving the environment in order to transfer it to the next generation in sound condition. YKK will continue to pursue eco-friendly business activities.
ECO-DYE® is a registered trademark of YKK Corporation in Japan and other countries/regions.