YKK is partnering with existing customers in the healthcare and Personal Protective Equipment industries as well as reaching out to new partners to seek creative ways to address the COVID-19 challenge together.

The company's four main U.S. manufacturing facilities in Georgia, California, Alabama and Kentucky have taken innovative approaches to the new challenges being presented to them. One example is YKK subsidiary Tape Craft Corporation in Oxford, Alabama. Last Friday, Tape Craft was approached by Ford Motor Company with a request to provide thousands of elastic straps for the face shields Ford is now manufacturing in Michigan for the medical industry. Tape Craft provided 85,000 pieces of elastic straps to Ford this week.

And when supply chain disruptions with YKK’s elastic supplier prevented Tape Craft from being able to provide more elastic straps to Ford, Tape Craft, together with YKK USA, immediately proposed two creative alternatives using YKK’s hook and loop fasteners, plastic buckles and cord-stoppers. Both solutions are currently under consideration. YKK USA. Snap and Button Products in Kentucky is also supporting its customers who are converting to face shield production by providing snaps, machinery and expertise in a timely manner.

Additionally, YKK USA is working with several government contractors on mission critical orders for the U.S. Government. YKK USA in Macon, Georgia, is manufacturing airtight/watertight and moisture repellent zippers for isolation chambers and Level B Hazmat suits for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to support the fight against COVID-19. YKK USA in Anaheim, California is providing airtight/watertight zippers to aid and support in the design of manufacturing negative pressure tent prototypes for those requiring isolation due to coronavirus exposure for the California State government. Moreover, YKK USA in Macon continues to supply key fastening products for the police, fire, and medical support communities.

YKK is also providing fastening products for medical masks, hospital gowns and medical beds and bedding. In addition to servicing existing healthcare customers, some requests are coming from YKK’s apparel industry customers, who are switching to medical industry production. This sudden switch is requiring creative thinking from all involved, and YKK hopes to work with more partners to find inventive uses for its zippers, hook & loop, injection molded plastic parts, webbing, and snap & buttons.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security considers YKK a part of the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Industry” by This federal government designation takes precedence over state and local directives that call for lockdowns or similar temporary closures. 

At same time, YKK is taking many steps to ensure the safety of employees as they remain at work to fulfill these critical orders. The YKK COVID-19 Task Force has been in place since February and meets daily to determine how to best protect its community of employees.