3M has been awarded two contracts through the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to further develop U.S. production of N95 respirators in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company reported on Friday.
“Being selected for these contracts will allow us to increase our manufacturing capability even more. We thank the Trump Administration and the Department of Defense for their close collaboration on this effort and share their goal of protecting the American public,” said Mike Roman, 3M chairman of the board and chief executive officer.
In Jan. 2020, 3M expanded its production of respirators and doubled its global output to 1.1 billion per year, including 35 million N95 respirators per month in the U.S. With the contracts, 3M to make another 39 million respirators per month in the U.S.
An additional investment already underway by 3M will add another 22 million respirators per month to that output, nearly tripling the company’s total production of N95 respirators to more than 95 million per month in the U.S. The contracts have been awarded through a collaboration under the Defense Production Act.
3M has invested over $80 million in the production of N95 respirators since the outbreak began. The investments and actions, along with these contracts, will enable the company to nearly double its current capacity again to 2 billion respirators globally by the end of the year.
The increase in production will be made possible by the addition of new equipment that manufactures N95 respirators. The construction of that equipment has begun in Wisconsin where initial production of the respirators will start in June.
The equipment will eventually be relocated to a new expansion at 3M’s facility in Aberdeen, South Dakota. 3M’s Aberdeen plant has been a key part of the company’s U.S. manufacturing strategy of personal protective equipment for decades and throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
“3M is working around the clock to get much-needed personal protective equipment to the nation’s frontline healthcare workers,” added Roman.
At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, our 96,000 employees connect with customers all around the world.