3M Expands Production of N95 Masks, Adds Two Buildings at Aberdeen Location

3M Expands Production of N95 Masks, Adds Two Buildings at Aberdeen Location

(NOVEMBER 6, 2020) - 3M announced Friday that two new production lines installed at its Aberdeen factory soon will increase production of N95 respirator masks due to high demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 3M facility will be adding 120,000 square feet to expand production of N95 masks, thank to grants issued by U.S. Department of Defense contracts to further expand its U.S. production of N95 respirators.

More:3M Aberdeen announces expansion to make more N95 masks

Aberdeen is the largest respirator plant in the US for the manufacturing company. The addition of two production lines will increase N95 mask production by tens of millions and increase the square footage of the facility by about 30%, according to prior reporting from Aberdeen News.

3M produced about 22 million masks a month in the United States in 2019. Due to increased demand from the pandemic and the Aberdeen expansion, that number will increase to nearly 95 million per month by the end of 2020.

Two buildings have been constructed and one production line is already running.

3M anticipates as many as 100 new jobs will be created from the expansion, in addition to the 200 jobs that were added since January.

Mike Vale, 3M executive vice president, said he remembers first seeing the signs of an increase in demand on Jan. 9 as company officials looked at COVID-19 reports coming out of China. By Jan. 15, he said, 3M was authorized to go to full production and overtime to meet the expected increase in demand. 

That response came, he said, because 3M recognized the signs it has seen with other viral outbreaks and natural disasters. 

"We've seen this pattern before," Vale said. "So we stood up our global response team on Jan. 9 and, six days later, gave the order to stand up all our manufacturing facilities by Jan. 15."

Production then became a round-the-clock ordeal.

Gov. Kristi Noem, who attended the announcement of the expansion Friday with South Dakota's congressional delegation, said the increased production of N95 masks and local job growth has helped boost the economy.

"That's the example we're setting here in South Dakota that we can fight the virus, that we can fight the virus together and keep people safe and address public health, but also that we can work together to make sure that families have their other needs met as well," she said. - (ArgusLeader.com;  Aberdeen American News reporter Elisa Sand contributed to this story)