Aberdeen company ramps up production of face masks

ABERDEEN, S.D. — Fast tracking production of the N95 respirator is no easy task.

3M is ramping up hiring, hosting job fairs and making offers on the spot. In Aberdeen, South Dakota, at one of its largest manufacturing facilities. 3M has added robots to its assembly line all in an effort to meet the surge in demand for its face masks.

Andy Rehder, 3M Plant Manager, said “We immediately ramped up production in this facility. We have capacity to do that and we did that immediately, really from a more standard 5 day to a more 7 day week with additional equipment we’ve been able to bring in and turn on.”

Seema Mody, CNBC Business News, said “The most popular mask is the N95 respirator, which has become the symbol of the fight against the coronavirus.”

From the streets of Beijing, soccer games in japan, to Milan Fashion Week. Health care workers and citizens around the world are using the mask to reduce the risk of infection. According to the CDC the respirator filters 95 percent of airborne particles. But with demand so high it’s increasingly difficult to find or order one on e-commerce sites like Amazon. And 60 percent of large scale pharmacies have essentially run out, according to the HHS.

Nicole McCullough, 3M Global Leader of Safety and Health, said “We’re seeing outbreaks develop in new countries every day. But even the countries where there isn’t a widespread outbreak are working really hard to prepare right now, in case they do have that situation.”

As the risk of a US outbreak rises, workers here in Aberdeen are determined to produce as many respirators as possible.

Tim Hofer, 3M Machine Production Operator, said “We know what we have to do and we know we have to keep our numbers up and we know we have to keep ourselves safe and we need to put out great quality and that’s what we come out here to do.”

It’s important to note that health experts are not recommending that everyone use a protective mask in public. The World Health Organization says there’s no need to wear a mask if you’re healthy, unless you’re taking care of a patient with coronavirus symptoms.

The World Health Organization does recommend you use a mask if you’re coughing or sneezing.

Categories: Coronavirus, South Dakota News