Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3M Partners With Ford to Sextuple Respirators, Aims to Double N95 Mask Production From Previous Target

By Neha Chamaria - Apr 1, 2020 at 12:26PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

3M is aggressively expanding production of N95 masks and vital respiratory protection systems.

3M (MMM -0.05%) is increasing its N95 mask production capacity at a heady pace as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. At the same time, 3M has also partnered with automaker Ford (F -1.64%) to boost production of 3M's Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) by six-fold in the coming weeks.

3M's latest target: produce 2 billion N95 masks

N95 masks are a common particulate-filtering face respirator mask, which filters out 95% of airborne particles. Demand for the mask has blown through the roof after the coronavirus outbreak, leading to a severe global shortage. 3M is a leading N95 respirator manufacturer, with production facilities in the U.S., Europe, Asia (particularly China), and Latin America.

Some weeks ago, 3M contracted with the U.S. government to increase production of N95 masks, aiming to:

  • double global annual N95 production to 1.1 billion, or about 100 million per month.
  • manufacture 35 million masks per month in the U.S. alone

3M's facilities in the U.S. originally manufactured a little more than 400 million N95 respirators each year before the COVID-19 outbreak.

An N95 mask on a table.

3M is rapidly increasing production of COVID-19 N95 masks. mage source: Getty Images.

In a statement released March 31 , 3M announced an even more aggressive plan, now targeting:

  • annual global production of 2 billion N95 respirators, or double its earlier target.
  • 50 million masks per month in the U.S., starting June 2020.

In short, 3M is increasing its monthly N95 mask production in the U.S. by 40% from current levels and global production two-fold over the next 12 months.

3M further revealed where and how its N95 masks are reaching those who need them the most in the U.S.:

  • 80% of its supply is directly reaching healthcare workers and facilities through 3M's healthcare logistics chain.
  • 20% is being supplied to the federal government, with a major portion going to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

3M said it's collaborating with sterilization companies to ensure its N95 masks reach safely such that they can be reused to their maximum potential.

Going beyond N95

3M has also partnered with Ford to boost production of PAPRs, "highly specialized pieces of equipment used in the most demanding healthcare environments", targeting a six-fold jump in production within the "60 to 90 days."

3M and Ford are jointly working to develop next generation PAPRs -- possibly at one of Ford's Michigan facilities -- that can last up to eight hours, maintain air flow, and filter airborne contaminants, which can carry virus-bearing droplets. Ford is also collaborating with 3M in other relevant areas while working with other healthcare equipment providers like General Electric to boost production of critical equipment.

In a separate statement, 3M reaffirmed its efforts to combat "price gouging, fraud and counterfeit activity in connection with its products and the COVID-19 outbreak."

Neha Chamaria has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3M. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

3M Company Stock Quote
3M Company
$145.12 (-0.05%) $0.07
General Electric Company Stock Quote
General Electric Company
$77.63 (-2.00%) $-1.58
Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
$15.88 (-1.64%) $0.27

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/19/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.