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Fiberglass Fabrication

Fiberglass products refers to products that are fabricated from liquid polyester resin reinforced with glass fibers and extended with various inorganic filler maters such as calcium carbonate, talk, mica, or small glass spheres.

Fiber-reinforced plastics products have a wide range of application in industry, transportation, home, and recreation.  Industrial uses include storage tanks, skylights, electrical equipment, ducting, pipes, machine components, and corrosion resistant structural and process equipment.  In transportation, automobile and aircraft applications are increasing rapidly. Home and recreational items include bathroom tubs and showers, boats (building and repair), surfboards and skis, helmets, swimming pools and hot tubs, and a variety of sporting goods.

In order to be used in the fabrication of products, the liquid resin must be mixed with a catalyst to initiate polymerization into a solid thermoset.  Catalyst concentrations generally range from 1 to 2 percent by original weight of resin; within certain limits, the higher the catalyst concentration, the faster the cross-linking reaction proceeds.  Common catalysts are organic peroxides, typically methyl ethyl ketone peroxide or benzoyl peroxide.  Resins may contain inhibitors, to avoid self-curing during resin storage, and promoters, to allow polymerization to occur at lower temperatures.

Fiberglass products are fabricated using any of several processes, depending on their size, shape, and other desired physical characteristics.  The principal processes include:

  • Hand layup
  • Spray layup
  • Continuous lamination
  • Pultrusion
  • Filament winding
  • Various closed molding operations.

Emissions from fiberglass fabrication are mainly volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the fabrication processes and use of cleanup solvents (cleanup of tools, molds and spraying equipment).  Styrene, methyl methacrylate, and vinyl toluene are three of the principal monomers used as cross-linking agents. Styrene is by far the most common.

The above information is from EPA’s AP42 Chapter 4.4 – Polyester Resin Plastic Products Fabrication (2/07).

The following fact sheet from the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program provides information on how facilities may reap benefits by reducing VOC emissions.

Who Needs A Permit?

A permit to operate is required for all fiberglass fabrication facilities.

Permit Fees

New Installations:

Fiberglass fabrication operations are required to submit a one-time NEW APPLICATION fee for applying Authority to Construct/Permit to Operate (Rule 300 District Fees).

Modifications:

For modifications resulting in any physical change or change in method of operation shall pay the MODIFICATION fee specified in Rule 300.

Permit Application Completeness Determination

An application will not be accepted for processing until it is deemed complete. The following will be required in order for MBARD to make a completeness determination.

Documents/Forms

Permit Applications Forms

Form 1 ATC-PTO ApplicationForm 400-General Application Fee Determination SheetFiberglass Fabrication Supplemental Information Form

Related Rules

MBARD Rules

Rule 200 PERMITS REQUIRED

Rule 201 SOURCES NOT REQUIRING PERMITS

Rule 207 REVIEW OF NEW OR MODIFIED SOURCES

Rule 221 FEDERAL PREVENTION OF SIGNIFICANT DETERIORATION

Rule 222 FEDERAL MINOR SOURCES REVIEW

Rule 300 DISTRICT FEES

Rule 400 VISIBLE EMISSIONS

Rule 402 NUISANCES

Rule 403 PARTICULATE MATTER

Rule 416 ORGANIC SOLVENTS

Rule 433 ORGANIC SOLVENT CLEANING

Rule 1000 PERMIT GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR SOURCES EMITTING TOXIC AIR CONTAMINANTS

State Rules

California Health and Safety Code, Section 42301.6, Public Notice for Possible Source of Air Hazardous Emissions Near School Prior to Approving Permit

Federal Rules

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)

Depending on the activities conducted at the fiberglass fabrication facilities, the facility may be subject to the following NESHAP regulations:

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart WWWW – NESHAP for Reinforced Plastic Composites Production

This action promulgates national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for new and existing reinforced plastic composites production facilities. The NESHAP regulate production and ancillary processes used to manufacture products with thermoset resins and gel coats.

40 CFR part 63, Subpart VVVV – NEHSAP for Boat Manufacturing

The processes regulated include fiberglass resin and gel coat operations, carpet and fabric adhesive operations, and aluminum recreational boat painting operations.  The EPA has identified boat manufacturing as a major source of hazardous air pollutants (HAP), such as styrene, methyl methacrylate (MMA), methylene chloride (dichloromethane), toluene, xylene, n-hexane, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), and methyl chloroform (1,1,1- trichloroethane).