Clothing The Manufacturing Process of Zippers
The Manufacturing Process of Zippers

It is all too easy to take your zippers for granted. After all, you have seen and used them your entire lives to tighten your boots, protect your luggage, prevent wardrobe malfunctions, and even secure your money.

Continue reading below to learn more about the process of how zippers are produced.

Essential Materials

Zippers have several major components, and these are the following:

  • Slider – The part that shuts and opens the fastener.
  • Stringer – The combination of tape or cloth and the teeth that form one side.
  • Top and bottom stop – The two stops that prevent the slider from going off the track of the chain.

Meanwhile, different materials are used to make metal zippers such as aluminum, brass, zinc, and stainless steel, just to name a few. Many steel zippers use brass or zinc for coating, or they might also be made to match the color of the clothing.

Zippers, on the other hand, may also be made of plastic materials containing polyester or nylon, with the slider being made from steel. Finally, the fabric tapes are either cotton, polyester, or a combination of both.

Two Distinct Zipper Manufacturing Processes

Metal and plastic zippers each have a different manufacturing process.


Plastic zippers have three main types, namely ladder, spiral, and toothed.

  • Ladder

Ladders are manufactured by wrapping a plastic wire between the two spools that protrude from the end of the spinning shaping wheel. Strippers on either end remove the loops from the spools as the notching and heading wheel continue to push the loops into a “U” shape that forms heads on the teeth.

  • Spiral

Spiral plastic zippers are strung using two methods. The notch in the plastic wire feeds two hot fasteners. The fasteners wrap the plastic thread in opposing directions. The head maker molds every loop into a round knob and the spiral is cooled down with air. This approach uses two different machines to form spirals on both ends of the zipper.

19 Different Types Of Zippers For Garments [Complete Guide]

Another method produces two spirals mainly on one machine. The forming wheel spins the wire loop between the notches. These notches are made by a head maker and a pusher to produce two linked chains that can be sewn into two fabric tapes.

  • Toothed

To produce the toothed option, a molding procedure is used like metal zippers. A revolving wheel featuring microscopic molds is then formed like squashed teeth. Two cables eventually link the final teeth. Once the semi-molten plastic is poured into the mold, this will harden. A folding machine will finally twist the teeth into a U-shape for sewing.


It was in the early 1920s when Otto Sundback developed the first-ever metal zipper stringer technique. The rolling mill shapes the circular wire into a Y-shape. The wire is then split to produce a tooth of the right size.

The die punches the tooth into a scoop design. A tooth is inserted into the slot, rotating it by 90 degrees. After another 90-degree turn, the first tooth can be secured onto the fabric tape. After fastening, the tape is lifted somewhat on top of the scoop to make room for the adjacent tooth on the finished zipper.

The method’s appeal lessened because it was such a meticulous method. A similar approach was then followed to punch the flattened wire strip between the pocket punch and a heading to make scoops. A blanking punch will shape the scoops into a “Y” shape. The Y legs are clamped around the fabric tape. This technique left the version of Sundback in the dust.

You can now shop for replacement zippers online to find the right products for your needs.

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