3M and Ford partner to help further respirator production, 3M CEO supports work to curb pandemic profiteers

March 25, 2020

3M and Ford Motor Company are partnering to increase the production of 3M’s powered air purifying respirators, or PAPRs and to mee the surge in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 outbreak.

3M’s powered air purifying respirators use a waist-mounted, battery-powered blower that sends filtered air into a hood that helps provide respiratory protection for workers, including those in healthcare. 3M’s PAPR systems can offer a more comfortable user experience for wearers who need respiratory protection for an extended period of time.

“We’re exploring all available opportunities to further expand 3M’s capacity and get healthcare supplies as quickly as possible to where they’re needed most – which includes partnering with other great companies like Ford,” said Mike Roman, 3M chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “It’s crucial that we mobilize all resources to protect lives and defeat this disease, and I’m incredibly grateful to Ford and their employees for this partnership.”

“3M is providing vital personal protective equipment for medical workers and we’ve empowered our engineers and designers to move as quickly as possible to help 3M grow PAPR production using common parts to speed this up. We are also volunteering our facilities for additional production,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO.

Overall, 3M has doubled its global output of N95 respirators to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month. In the United States 3M is producing 35 million respirators per month; of these, more than 90 percent are now designated for healthcare workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies.

Roman also delivered the a letter to William Barr, attorney general of the United States; Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland and chair of the National Governors Association; and Tim Fox, attorney general of Montana and president of the National Association of Attorneys General, highlighting 3M's actions to curb counterfeiting and price gouging of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter also urges federal and state governments and law enforcement officials to continue to lead the fight, with 3M’s support and assistance, against those who are exploiting the crisis by marketing counterfeit products or gouging the public.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 3M has doubled its output of N95 respirators, running their manufacturing lines around the clock seven days a week, hiring workers, adding shifts, and activating more production lines. In addition, 3M is increasing its investment to expand its global capacity for manufacturing these respirators by more than 30 percent in the next 12 months.  

3M has not increased the prices it charges for respirators as a result of this global crisis. 3M will not increase its current pricing for respirators being used to help address the pandemic.

3M has seen reports of fraudulent activity and price gouging involving medical devices, including 3M N95 respirators. 3M is currently providing assistance directly to the public to help curb this activity.

3M is in the process of working with large e-marketplace operators on a coordinated strategy and action plan to identify and remove counterfeiters and price-gougers and to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

3M has the story.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.