Zipper Factory Tour

Shenzhen Adventure Day 19

The Zipper factory tour was courtesy of Daniel Liang. This was one of the more detailed tours; there’s a whole lot that goes into a zipper! Daniel’s factory is also super large as it is essentially end-to-end, raw materials go in such as bulk plastic and metal, and finished spools of zipper material and zips come out.

Filament Making

Filaments are used to make the plastic zipping ribs.

They start out as raw plastic pelts.

If a black color is desired, a small amount of dye pellets are added.

The pellets go into the hopper (far left) to be melted down/mixed and then extruded.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get great pictures of this part, but the filaments are pulled through, cooled, and then spooled.

Maybe this picture will help you, but I can’t really make sense of it.

Tape Weaving

Tapes are woven from some nylon/cotton thread. I’m not sure if this is made on site or not, but I think if I recall it is a separate factory.

The thread goes into weaving machines.

Weaving machine, slowed down many times.

Many arrays of weaving machines. Each machine weaves several tapes at once.

Zip Integrating

These machines knit in the filaments into a plastic zipper. This is either onto a woven tape, or standalone (both are pictured below).

Slider Making

A Zipper Slider starts out looking like this:

Raw metal.

The metal is melted down and sent to die casting molds.

Die casting machines cranking out zips.

Live die casting, metal refil pouring in the background.

They make a lot of sliders!

Die cast pieces coming out of the mold.

Then the pieces go through multiple polishing phases.

Separated pieces going into the polisher. One of ~5 polish phases.

Lastly, some assembly of the flap and the zip.

Putting together the zipper metal components by hand.

Less specialized zipper assemblies are automated.

The alignment process involves a properly shaped “needle” and a vibrating, spinning bowl.


Chord spindling machine. Back and forth makes it tidy for sale!

Chord spindling machine release.

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