3M announced June 1 its intent to build a safety products manufacturing plant in Korea to meet the growing demand for respiratory protection products in Asia and to better serve its customers in the region.

The continued growth in manufacturing activities in Asia, combined with greater awareness of workplace safety practices, is driving strong demand for respiratory protection products.

The plant will initially manufacture maintenance-free respirators and elastomeric facepiece respirators that are primarily sold to industrial and professional customers. The new manufacturing plant will be located in Hwaseong, Korea, 20 miles outside of Seoul.

"This investment strengthens our ability to better serve our customers in Asia and meet the growing demand for our respiratory protection products," said Michael Kelly, division vice president, 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division. "This world-class facility brings us closer to our customers giving us greater speed-to-market and reflects our continued commitment to meet the needs of our customers around the world."

Over the last few years, 3M has made manufacturing investments to meet the demand for respiratory protection products, including adding manufacturing lines and increasing productivity at its facilities in Valley, Neb.; Aberdeen, S.D.; and Aycliffe, United Kingdom.

Using its expertise in filtration technology and manufacturing capabilities, 3M supplies a full line of maintenance-free, elastomeric and powered-air purifying respirators. These products comply with government-approval requirements and meet customer respirator needs while also providing users with comfortable, easy-to-breathe-through respirators.