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News & Current Events Discuss How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year at the General Forum; How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year The company is using “surge capacity” ...

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Old 03-30-2020, 09:20 AM
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Default How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

The company is using “surge capacity” to increase the production of N95 masks to fight the pandemic. Localized supply chains are a secret weapon, too.
Andrew Rehder, manager of 3M Co.’s respirator mask factory in Aberdeen, S.D., got the call from headquarters on Tuesday, Jan. 21. He gathered about 20 managers and supervisors into a conference room, where they sat, unworried, less than 6 feet apart. Rehder told them that a new virus was spreading rapidly in China and that 3M was expecting demand for protective gear to jump.
The Aberdeen plant had already ramped up production of respirator masks in response to demand from first responders battling wildfires in Australia and contending with a volcano in the Philippines. Now, Rehder told his charges, Aberdeen would shift to “surge capacity.” Idle machinery installed for precisely this purpose would be activated, and many of the plant’s 650 employees would immediately start working overtime. “We knew it wouldn’t be a two-week blip, it would be longer,” Rehder says. “But I had no idea.”
This is 3M’s moment, one for which the staid, 118-year-old Minnesota manufacturing giant—the maker of Post-its, Scotch tape, touchscreen displays, and scores of other products—has been preparing for almost two decades. Coming out of the SARS epidemic of 2002-03, the company realized it wasn’t fully equipped to handle unexpected explosions of demand in the event of a crisis, or what it calls an “X factor.” It decided to build surge capacity into its respirator factories around the world.

Over the years, with X factors such as the Ebola panic and the H1N1 flu virus generating flash floods of demand, the company kept refining its emergency response. When the world started clamoring for respirator masks to help confront coronavirus, 3M was ready.
People everywhere are scrambling for ventilators, Covid-19 test kits, bleach, and toilet paper. But almost no item is as scarce—and as vital to addressing this medical emergency—as the N95 respirator masks made by 3M, Honeywell, Medicom, and a smattering of other companies. Without respirators, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel are at increased risk of contracting the affliction they’re treating.
China, where this coronavirus originated, also happens to produce half the world’s respirators. As the outbreak spread, the Chinese government halted mask exports and demanded that all in-country manufacturers, including 3M, crank up production. Shortages swiftly developed as Covid-19 cases appeared in Asia, Europe, and the U.S., forcing health-care workers to reuse old respirators and cobble together ersatz masks from materials bought at craft stores. In America, states are bidding against one another for masks priced as much as 10 times the usual cost of 60 to 80 apiece.

3M can’t save the day on its own, but it’s promising a remarkably large contribution. The company has in two months doubled global production of N95 masks to about 100 million a month, and it’s planning to invest in new equipment to push annual mask production to 2 billion within 12 months. On March 22, Chief Executive Officer Mike Roman said in a news release that 3M had sent 500,000 respirators to hard-hit Seattle and New York City, and that it was ramping up production of hand sanitizers and disinfectants as well. Two days later, Roman said 3M would work with Ford Motor Co. to produce powered air purifying respirators, waist-mounted devices that blow air into helmets that shield wearers. Honeywell is also increasing N95 production, saying it will hire at least 500 people to expand capacity at a facility in Rhode Island.
Although businesses globally have emptied out, more than half of 3M’s 96,000 employees are still showing up for work in its factories and warehouses. “It’s been amazing,” says Rehder, who’s in the Aberdeen plant seven days a week, usually walking the floor, which is now marked with yellow tape to keep workers from violating the imaginary 6-foot infection barrier. “People are very proud to work in a place that’s making respirators, especially with the need that’s out there now.”....
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...=pocket-newtab
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

more from article
Why N95 respirators are used

...The N95 respirator is so named because, worn properly, it blocks at least 95% of airborne particles from entering a wearer’s mouth and nose, while still allowing respiration through the microscopically porous shell. This design protects a person from medical and other hazards; flimsier, looser-fitting surgical masks are intended to prevent the wearer from infecting others with expelled mucus, blood, or spit.
3M makes about two dozen versions of the N95, for different industrial and medical purposes. Generally they’re constructed from nonwoven materials—infinitesimal plastic strands blown together to form a random thicket that, under a microscope, “is going to look like pickup sticks,” says Nikki McCullough, 3M’s global leader for occupational health and safety. “If you’re a submicron particle, it’s quite the journey through there.” The filters can block invaders as small as 0.3 microns, or about 1/100th the thickness of a human hair. The virus is smaller than that, at about 0.125 microns, but it often travels within larger particles when an infected person coughs or sneezes....
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Old 03-30-2020, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

I have seen those on the left criticize Trump for not enacting the Defense Production Act and forcing companies to produce things we need. This is an example as to why that was not needed.
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

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I have seen those on the left criticize Trump for not enacting the Defense Production Act and forcing companies to produce things we need. This is an example as to why that was not needed.
his administration should provide oversite at least and end a bidding war. And the feds are gonna have to buy respirators.
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:24 AM
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Default Re: How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

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his administration should provide oversite at least and end a bidding war. And the feds are gonna have to buy respirators.
What kind of oversight do you feel is warranted that is not currently provided? Also, why do the feds have to buy the ventilators, which is what I assume you are talking about? Why can't the states purchase them? After all, that is where they will be used. The Feds don't run the local hospitals.
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Old 03-31-2020, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

The need for these supplies and equipment is critical but when President Trump urges states to bypass the lengthy Federal acquisition process by going out on their own, he is a villian. Of course it's far easier to criticize the bad Orange man while demanding an outsized share of the plunder from the Treasury than to reallocate funds from vote buying projects in the state budget.

President Obama complained loudly to great sympathy about a lack of gratitude from state governors after he subsidized their payrolls with stimulus funds. Yet when Governor Cuomo is allocated $3 billion in Federal relief he whines like an infant with a dirty diaper demanding $15 billion. But Cuomo is portrayed as a courageous martyr.

Obama boasted about saving GM by nationalizing its re capitalization onto the backs of taxpayers. He saved a select group of UAW workers with direct corporate subsidies. Yet when the ingrates at GM refused to go all out to manufacture ventilators for use fighting the Corona virus crisis, Trump is incompetent for not ordering them to expedite manufacturing sooner.
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Old 03-31-2020, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

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Originally Posted by GetAClue View Post
I have seen those on the left criticize Trump for not enacting the Defense Production Act and forcing companies to produce things we need. This is an example as to why that was not needed.
As usual, when there is a demand, the private sector will step in and immediately fill that demand, and at a reasonable price.

Government by contrast will step in and pass a bill with a two + trillion dollar giveaway program which does not address the problem of lack of medical equipment.

And some people actually want government in charge of all our medical care.
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Old 03-31-2020, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year

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Originally Posted by saltwn View Post
his administration should provide oversite at least and end a bidding war. And the feds are gonna have to buy respirators.
Nope. Government will just muck it up.

Respirators will be available, and in far less time and far less money than it took government to pass the original emergency request.
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