Fiber Reinforced Plastic Manufacturing

Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP), also known as fiber-reinforced polymer, reinforced plastics/composites, or fiberglass, is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibers. The polymer is usually an epoxy, vinyl ester, phenolic resin or polyester thermosetting plastic. The fibers are usually glass, carbon or aramid. In some processes, resin products are fabricated without fibers, such as synthetic marble. Fiber-reinforced plastics products have a wide range of application in industry, transportation, home, and recreation. Generally, the manufacturing of these FRP products has the potential to emit air pollutant emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), and in some case, Particulate Matter (PM).

Sources that engage in the production of FRP products must calculate their potential to emit VOCs and HAPs (and sometimes PM). There are many ways to produce FRP products, therefore, a source must take into account the materials being utilized in the process, and the molding or casting methods used. The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), (formerly the Composite Fabricators Association (CFA)) worked with the IDEM, Office of Air Quality (OAQ) to develop emission factors for open molding systems. These Unified Emission Factors for Open Molding Composites [PDF] were revised and updated in October of 2009. Emission Factors for Closed Molding processes can be found in the U.S. EPA’s AP-42 (Section 4.4, Fifth Edition, Volume I). IDEM's Compliance and Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) uses these approved emission factors for calculating potential emissions for sources applying molding practices, and helps businesses understand the state and federal rules that they may be required to comply with for their individual processes.

The Compliance Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) may be contacted at (800) 988-7901 for confidential assistance. A CTAP consultation request can be made as well.

State and Federal Rules:

The Clean Air Act (CAA), as amended in 1990, mandates that emissions of 187 Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) be controlled through regulation. The CAA mandated that the U.S. EPA target industries that potentially emit these regulated HAPs, and promulgate standards for these major categories through the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs). Two of the categories initially identified by the U.S. EPA related to FRP production were Reinforced Plastic Composites Production (RPC) and Boat Manufacturing.

Subpart WWWW—National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Reinforced Plastic Composites Production

Subpart VVVV—National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Boat Manufacturing


Subpart WWWW:

Subpart VVVV:

Calculating Emissions:

Compliance Assistance Resources