3M expansion

The 3M manufacturing plant at Aycliffe, County Durham, is to be expanded to manufacture maintenance-free respirators thanks to a multi-million-pound investment package.

The 3M board in the United States has approved a £4.5m investment for the new production facilities, supplemented with a £675,000 ‘Selective Finance for Investment’ grant from RDA One NorthEast.

The new facilities will provide additional manufacturing capacity to produce this innovative range of respirators, which were developed in the R&D laboratories at Aycliffe.

The respirators are used in industries, including woodworking, steel and engineering, to protect workers from inhaling dust and particles, and also in the health-care sector against germs and viruses such as avian flu.

The new production line is due to be operational at the site by June 2009.