Opti zipper
Historical development of the zip fastener and the location Rhauderfehn

At the end of the nineteenth century inventors tried many ways to open and close clothing "in a slide action". Eventually in 1893 W.L. Judson made a patent application.

During the next 20 years the Swede, Gideon Sundback, improved the production techniques of zip fasteners so that metal teeth could be attached to a textile tape in a mass produced way. This replaced the hooks and eyes principle patented by W.L.Judson.

This was an innovative idea that paved the way for the success of the zip fastener. The zipper has been improved in many ways to make a product today, which is useful, comfortable and reliable.



The Opti Group, an international company, were the pioneers in Europe. In 1989 Opti became a member of Coats. The economic production of a plastic spiral zip fastener was decisive and a world-wide success. The flexibility of the material meant the problem-free use of zip fasteners in clothing, particularly fine materials. By using flexible production techniques and dyeing processes with plastic zips, Coats was able to impress the fashion sector by providing a greater variety of colour.

As the largest German zip manufacturer Coats GmbH fulfils all the requirements of the market today:2,000 zip fasteners in various types, lengths and colours. Due to the variety of products new applications for zip fasteners have been found outside of the clothing industry. Zips offer hermetic protection for astronauts in the upper atmosphere, protect beaches from oil disasters, support surgeons in their work.

The factory at Rhauderfehn was opened in 1962 because of labour shortages at Essen and Duderstadt. Originally the factory was planned to manufacture continuous chain. Further milestones of the factory were:

  • 1985: Completely new technology for the production of zip fasteners was invented, the S-Technology (woven plastic spiral zip fastener). Final assembly of these zip fasteners in Rhauderfehn
  • 1986: Complete integration of the metal zip fastener manufacturing, combined with improvements to the technology and machinery
  • 1987: Production of concealed zip fasteners (S44 type)
  • 1987-88. S80 is introduced. Final assembly of heavy spiral zip fasteners e.g. for tents
  • 1989: Opti joins Coats
  • 1989/90: Administration is moved from Essen to Rhauderfehn
  • 1991: A disastrous fire. Erection of new administration and warehouse buildings
  • 1992: Introduction of IT-supported production planning and control (PPS)
  • 1995: Admission of sewing threads to the assortment of the trade business
  • 1997: Union with the sewing thread manufacturer MEZ Industrial Sewing Threads GmbH and MEZ GmbH to the Coats GmbH
  • 1998: Development of the company Coats Germany