PCI Member Meets Challenge in COVID-19 Battle

Faced with rapidly expanding its production of N95 masks, 3M turned to precast concrete.

January 13, 2021

1 Min Read
Gage Brothers' Sioux Falls facility.

Gage Brothers Concrete Products, a member of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), stepped up its production and was instrumental in completing a project to allow increased manufacturing by 3m  of the vital N95 masks used by medical personnel and first responders fighting COVID-19.

Time was of the essence — the nation required protective equipment as the COVID-19 crisis deepened. To meet its stringent deadline, Gage Brothers Concrete Products, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., manufactured several concrete components for the initial phase of the 440,000-square-foot production facility. The Fortune 500 company had been awarded a U.S. Department of Defense contract to increase production of the masks at its Aberdeen, S.D. plant, so the pressure was on to work fast and meet deadlines. Lives depended on it.

Precast concrete fabrication started April 30, 2020, and was completed July 17, 2020; delivery started June 30 and was completed August 21. Precast concrete is the ideal construction material when speed and efficiency are paramount. Precast concrete is manufactured in production facilities and then shipped to jobsites. Inclement weather does not hamper production, so just-in-time deliveries are assured. A small crew can erect thousands of square feet of precast concrete components in mere days.

“We have the ability to pour several pieces on different beds in the plant at a time, so that when erection starts, they can place many panels very quickly,” said Rachel Swain, project manager at Gage Brothers. The PCI precast concrete producer supplied 200 24-inch-deep double-tees, 60 36-inch-deep inverted tees and rectangular beams, 72 24-inch square columns, and 182 10-foot-wide wall panels.

For more on the project, read the story in the Aberdeen News.

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