MAPLEWOOD, MN —3M plans to triple its monthly domestic production of N95 masks after winning a pair of contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) worth more than $200 million.
The company expects to be producing 96 million of the desperately needed respirator masks at its U.S. manufacturing facilities by October.
In January, 3M ramped up domestic production of N95 masks to 35 million a year. The two DOD contracts, one worth $76 million and the other worth $126 million, will allow the company to increase its output by 39 million units. Additional investments by 3M will boost that number by another $22 million.
“3M is working around the clock to get much-needed personal protective equipment to the nation’s frontline healthcare workers,” says 3M CEO Mike Roman. “Being selected for these contracts will allow us to increase our manufacturing capability even more.”
Construction of the equipment necessary to triple mask production is underway at a 3M plant in Wisconsin, where respirator manufacturing will begin in June.
The equipment will eventually be moved to 3M’s facility in Aberdeen, S.D., which has been key in the company’s U.S. manufacturing strategy of personal protective equipment throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
Globally, 3M expects to double its annual output of N95 masks to 2 billion, racing to meet demand for the respirators created by the pandemic.
“In addition to partnering with the federal government to increase production of N95 respirators, 3M has also been working with the Trump administration to import a total of 166.5 million respirators from 3M’s overseas manufacturing facilities in China and other Asia locations,” says the company. “Those imports have already begun and will continue over the coming months.”