What is 3M?
With its headquarters in Maplewood Minnesota, 3M is an American multinational Conglomerate with operations all over the world. It’s hard to find another global innovative company that has been in business for so long. One of the things that makes 3M stand out is the stand-out products they have produced to make the lives of many across the world better. They believe they have “made consumer electronics less harmful to the environment, buildings safer, and driving at night easier.”
The company’s original name is Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company or 3M.
What’s The Origin of the Name ‘3M’?
It’s the company’s original activities that gave it the name Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. When it was formed in 1902, 3M made corundum mining its business. There were a number of companies that made grinding wheels which 3M thought to turn into clients. However, none of these companies bothered to do business with 3M. That’s the reason why the company entered the business of manufacturing grinding wheels. The fact that they had no experience in this line of business was no issue. What followed was an unavoidable failure.
They had failed twice but that didn’t mean they give up. Their third line of business involved using the stones they mined to make sandpaper. But that wasn’t the end of the streak of bad luck which the company had been suffering since its inception. Hardly had their sandpaper hit the market when they received news that it wasn’t corundum that they mined.
What they didn’t know is that they were mining low-grade anorthosite that couldn’t be used in the sandpaper industry. It occurred to them that what they needed for their sandpaper business was garnet. There were some deposits of this mineral in North America but which were under the control of two rival companies. That’s why they made a quick decision to import garnet from Spain. It was a contract founded on necessity but from which they would learn a bitter lesson. If there ever was a time to give up, it was then. They didn’t throw in the towel, though.
Crisis Begets Opportunity
The garnet was transported from Spain to the US on a ship that also carried olive oil. Along the voyage, some of the oil would spill on the garnet making it useless. This they didn’t know. After they had used the stones to make sandpaper, they realized that some customers were rejecting it. Their main complaint lay in the fact that the abrasive could not hold in place in the 3M sandpaper. What a batch of useless sandpaper? The mystery was resolved only when a worker discarded a piece of sandpaper in a pail of water and saw a residue of oil floating in it. It is this timely discovery that prevented the company from folding its business up.
How Did 3M Eventually Succeed?
Nothing drove 3M directors like the taste of their first success. A decision was made to roast the mineral to burn out the oil before using it. The sandpaper they made from that process was their first successful product. The company had fallen but it didn’t stay down.
3M was among the first companies of their time to invest in a small quality control laboratory. This, combined with research in new products is what set the company on a path to greater success. That’s how they came up with “Three-M-ite”, their first successful product, in 1914. They made this abrasive using a greatly flexible cloth that served as a good metal cutter. This was followed by the world’s first ever waterproof sandpaper. By 1916, the now-successful 3M was grossing sales of over $1 million for the first time. Today, they have over 55,000 products. How far can a successful business come?
3M Types of Products
As an innovative company, 3M has largely lived up to their reputation. They have tens of thousands of unique products that are used for different purposes. 3M has come so far. Today, they have a number of adhesive, abrasive, and safety products. It’s for a number of reasons that the products are superior as compared to others in their respective categories. The following are the details of each category, taken one-by-one:
3M Safety Products
There are many companies producing protective and safety equipment but 3M is the leader. It is easy to spot their eyewear, apparel, traffic, as well as home safety systems. It’s their deliberate efforts in research and quality control that has resulted in many of these products.
3M Traffic Safety Systems
It is easy to say that the safety of road transport in many parts of the world has largely been dependent on 3M products for 60 years now. Apart from manufacturing road safety products, they also partner with federal, ministry of transport, and municipal authorities throughout the world. Their products are durable, of high quality, and performance due to the many years of research done at 3M. If you are looking for experts in reflective road studs, traffic signing, vehicle safety markings, road markings, and license plate sheeting and recognition, talk to 3M.
3M Home Safety and Security
3M is well-known for providing safety & security window systems. They have a micro-layered, tear resistant film that enhances the protection of property, possessions, and people. This product should help you reduce the hazardous nature of shattered glass due to natural disasters like earthquakes. You can never rule out a blast occurring in your building, nowadays. It is this product that will save you from the injuries caused by shattered glass. You don’t have to worry about window-smashing burglars, either.
3M Eye Protection Products
3M has an array of products in this line of their business. If there is an area in which they have invested heavily, it is in worker’s protection. Theirs is a delicate balance between design, comfort, and protection. You can make use of their safety goggles and spectacles if you want. 3M eyewear stands out for a number of reasons including the following:
- An aspherical lens which enhances your face’s irregular features.
- Guarding you against accidental liquid droplets, sprays, and splashes.
- Dust resistant ventilation to protect your eyes against the effects of unwanted particles.
- Stopping molten metal from penetrating and sticking onto it.
- Soft material rotating tips that hold your eyewear securely in place always.
- Scratch resistant and multi-layered coating
3M Protective Apparel
Have you ever worn all-covering personal protective equipment (PPE) and wished you were wearing something else? It can be very frustrating when you are looking for the balance between the right level of protection and comfort. 3M provides you with a lot of options. With 3M coveralls, what you have is a complete set of clothing, apparel, and protective suits. Do you have a better way to protect workers against, liquid sprays, and hazardous particles? 3M provides you with long-lasting coveralls and disposable ones as well. The apparels are made of fabrics with breathable and comfortable features and thus are a must-have in the PPE industry.
3M Adhesive Products
Do you know the first company to make the cellophane tape and masking tape? 3M, of course. In a span of less than a century, they have come up with a number of adhesive tape products. Pick out a random adhesive tape on a shelf anywhere in the world and it’s likely to be one of 3M’s products. 3M adhesives stand out for employing an intricate technology during their production. Many people find them easy-to-use and incredibly strong. 3M uses a viscoelastic foam infused water base to make their tapes. Their finished products are known for their strength, fit, flex, aesthetics, and impact. If you have any work for which you need adhesives, you are better off working with 3M.
They include the following:
- Structural adhesives
- Medical Tapes
- Masking tapes
- Wire tape rolls
- Lens processing discs
- Mastic pads
- Printable clear adhesive
3M Abrasive Products
The first abrasive product made by 3M is the sandpaper. Since then, they have proceeded to make a number of abrasives employing cutting edge technology. They are nothing like the conventional abrasives made by other manufacturers. If you have small-scale as well as large-scale industrial operations, you are better off using 3M abrasives. A vehicle factory floor is an ideal place for these products. In their own words, they provide “Science of the Smooth”. No matter the kind of manufacturer you are, expect to save time and money at every stage of the production process. They manufacture abrasive discs as well as abrasive paper.
Types of Abrasive Products
3M produces the following abrasives:
- Abrasive belts. If you want to grind, deburr, sand, polish and finish your work, try 3M abrasive belts. The company combines resin and several minerals to make the product. You will find these suitable on wood, metals, and hard surfaces.
- Abrasive disks. With these, 3M promises to make your work easier. In just a few steps, you will be able to get a smooth paintable surface. Made strong, 3M abrasive disks have the ability to resist loading even as their lives are prolonged. If you want the best finishes regardless of the work, this is what you need.
- Abrasive wheels. Do you have heavy grinding, light deburring, and finishing tasks? Use 3M abrasive wheels. This is a product that will meet your every need. The wheels are available in the form of super-abrasive wheels, grinding wheels, coated abrasive flap wheels, and finishing wheels.
- Hand pads. You won’t find a flexible and comfortable abrasive for prep work, general purpose cleaning, and finishing apart from this. It does what you want without leaving behind any damage. Ask for your type of grade, web, and size. Readers may recognise the hand pads from 3M’s brand, Scotch Brite.
You will find each of these products useful for different applications. Most of them are used in manufacturing as part of making the processes efficient. Many of these abrasive products help to improve surfaces without changing the dimension or shape of the piece of work.
Some of 3M’s Best Products
Throughout its history, 3M has moved from a business flop to the producer of over 55,000 products that are sold all over the world. People who have used most of these products find them just irresistible. Among all the 3M products there are bestselling ones and which perform better than the rest. According to this site, the following are the top ten bestselling 3M products:
3M Safety Walk Fine Resilient Clear Tape 220 2” X 60’
Very few of the tapes available on the market do very well in wet and barefoot areas. This tape has a fine textured, non-mineral, and slip resistant vinyl surface. As a high performing and water resistant acrylic adhesive, it works well in wet conditions.
3M Securefit Eyewear Clear Anti-Fog – SF401AF
Many people don’t like eyewear that weighs heavily on them. This lightweight, durable, and comfortable eye protection weighs only 1 oz. It has padded temple touch-points coupled with soft and adjustable nose pads. This product is secure. It fits snuggly without slippage even when you are in motion.
3M Peltor OP Time 101 Over The Head Earmuff – H7F
You will love these foldable safety earmuffs. It’s comfortable owing to two low mounting points. If you work in a loud factory setting, wear it to protect your ears from damage caused by loud sounds. It works well both at high and low frequencies.
3M Safety Walk Comfortable Tread Yellow 530 2” X 60’
This mineral-coated and slip-resistant material has a highly-durable surface. It has a low-profile design to help prevent accidents.
3M Petroleum Sorbent Pad HP 156-100PPP
Anybody looking to eliminate traces of lint from their work should try this product. It is a high-capacity sorbent with a scrim on one side. Use it by spreading it over and on the path of a spill for its convenient size. You can use it a multiple number of times if you want.
3M Safety Walk General Purpose Tape Black 610 2” X 60
For tape in heavy to light shoe traffic areas, this is it. As a mineral-coated tape, it provides high friction for a slip-resistant surface. You can trust it to withstand the daily rigors of equipment traffic for a long time. Use it on entrances, ladders, steps, ramps, flat surfaces, and lawn equipment.
3M Overglass OX2000
If you want to protect your eyes from high-impact situations this sturdy and protective eyewear is all you need. The 3M Overglass OX2000 also features flexible, polycarbonate construction with over-the-glass coverage and side shields. Its lightweight frame and anti-fog hard coat lens are all you need for comfort and enhanced clarity.
3M 340-4004 EAR UltraFit Reusable Earplug Corded, NRR 25dB
People have different sizes of ears. This perfectly-fitting earplug is pre-molded with a triple flange ear tip. With a noise reduction rating of 25 dB, this earplug has the ability to protect your ears from loud noises.
When you buy this product, you will be supplied with a poly bag to prevent your earplugs from getting dirty. But don’t worry just in case it gets dirty. You will be able to easily rewash and reuse it. There is no reason why you shouldn’t buy a pair.
3M Ear Muffs 1436
Industrial sound can be a nuisance. 3M Ear Muffs 1436 is a comfortable yet economical way to block out the industrial sound. It features a sound attenuation level of SNR 28dB, a light-weight, and low profile. The best thing is that it has a foldable headband. You will find this piece of equipment not just affordable but able to give you a consistent level of performance. Like many people in the manufacturing industry, you will love this pair of earmuffs.
3M Peltor Hard Hat Mount Earmuff X4P3E
There are many types of earmuffs. This particular one features a spacer, formulated foam liners, and ear cushions for improved attenuation. 3M has a number of earmuffs and the X-Series is the latest breakthrough. Use it to protect your ears against moderate-to-high level industrial noise and loud sounds elsewhere. You will find it to work well with other personal protective equipment such as safety helmets.
3M serves millions of its clients across the world with some of the best products. Chances are that you have used one of their products at least once in your lifetime.
This article was written to provide more information about 3M and where to find their products.
It is in no way sponsored.