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3M ramps up production of respirators to fight COVID-19

3M has doubled its output of urgently-needed N95 respirator masks to more than 1.1 billion per year, or almost 100 million a month, at its global manufacturing operations across US, Asia and Europe. The company is also maximizing production of hand sanitizers, disinfectants and filtration solutions.


3m respirator mask
 3M N-95 respirator mask
roman 3M edirt

       "Mobilizing all available resources":
                   3M CEO Mike Roman


“3M has a unique and critical responsibility in pandemic preparedness and response – a responsibility I and all our people take very seriously,” said 3M chairman and CEO Mike Roman.

“We are mobilizing all available resources and rapidly increasing output of critical supplies that healthcare workers in the United States and around the world need to help protect their lives as they treat others.

“Since the initial COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve ramped up to maximum production levels of N95 respirators and doubled our global output to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month,” Roman said. “In the United States we are producing 35 million respirators per month; of these, more than 90% are now designated for healthcare workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies.”

Minnesota-based 3M produces over 60,000 products under several brands, including adhesives, abrasives, laminates, passive fire protection, personal protective equipment, window films, paint protection films, dental and orthodontic products, electrical & electronic connecting and insulating materials, medical products, car-care products, electronic circuits, healthcare software and optical films.

The 3M Graphic Solutions unit produces graphic materials and products for vehicle advertising, car wraps, signs, floor graphics, window graphics and building graphics. The company has branches in Australia and New Zealand.

“While 3M is currently operating at maximum production, we have accelerated investments to expand our global capacity even more,’ said Roman. “We anticipate being able to nearly double our capacity again, to almost 2 billion respirators globally, within the next 12 months. We are working with the U.S. and other governments, investigating alternate manufacturing scenarios, and exploring coalitions with other companies to increase capacity further. We’ve also maximized production of a wide range of other solutions being used in the response, including hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

“As I write this, more than 500,000 respirators are on the way from our South Dakota plant to two of the more critically impacted areas, New York and Seattle, with arrivals expected starting tomorrow.”

3m center
 3M headquarters in Minnesota, US

The CEO also thanked the company’s 96,000 global employees.  “I am tremendously proud of you and the work you continue to do every day. This includes the 50,000 people who, in these most challenging circumstances, come to work in our plants and distribution centres to support making and delivering the products that are critical in this fight. Across all our sites we have established robust protocols for safety, cleaning and medical screening, and we are working closely with local communities and health authorities to ensure safe workplace environments. 

“We’re at our best as a society when we come together around a common mission. I’m encouraged at the mobilization we’ve seen around the world – with governments, businesses, NGO’s and individuals going above and beyond to do their part to beat this scourge. We are all in this together, and 3M will continue to do all we can to help protect lives and get the world through this crisis.”