Over 500,000 respirators were recently delivered to two of the more critically impacted areas in the United States: New York and Seattle.

Since the initial COVID-19 outbreak, 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 the United States, Asia and Europe. The company is also maximizing production of hand sanitizers, disinfectants and filtration solutions.

In the United States, specifically, 3M is producing 35 million respirators per month. According to Mike Roman, the company’s chief executive officer, more than 90% of those respirators are now designated for healthcare workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies. Over 500,000 respirators were recently shipped from the company’s South Dakota plant and delivered to two of the more critically impacted areas, New York and Seattle.

“3M has a unique and critical responsibility in pandemic preparedness and response—a responsibility I and all our people take very seriously,” Roman says. “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.”

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

The company reports that it is currently operating at maximum production, and has accelerated investments to expand its global capacity even more. 3M anticipates being able to nearly double its capacity again, to almost 2 billion respirators globally, within the next 12 months. 3M is working with the United States and other governments to investigate alternate manufacturing scenarios, and explore coalitions with other companies to increase capacity further.

“We’re at our best as a society when we come together around a common mission,” says Roman. “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.”