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Fiberglass Fabrication: Operations
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Glossary of Terms
Reasons for Change
P2 Opportunities
(NEW!) Styrene Issues in Fiberglass Fabication
Where To Go for P2 Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics (FRP) Manufacturing
Provides information on air emission issues (including styrene and other HAPs), compliance issues, p...

Guides to Pollution Prevention - The Fiberglass-Reinforced and Composite Plastics Industry
This manual provides information on the pollution prevention practices and technologies available to...

The following discussion and additional references provide information on the mold and fiberglass/composite preparation, and open and closed molding processes, along with environmental inputs and outputs associated with these activities.

There are two general divisions of molded composites manufacturing processes: open and closed molding. With open molding, the gel coat resin and laminate are left open and curing takes place via exposed to ambient or heated air. Closed molding uses a two-part mold, and is suitable for almost any shape that is conventionally open-molded. In closed molding, the composite is processed in a two-sided mold set, a rotational mold, or within a vacuum bag. Closed molding can be completed via several different methods, including compression, pultrusion, vacuum molding, infusion molding, resin transfer molding (RTM), centrifugal casting, and Seemann Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process (SCRIMP) (a vacuum infusion molding process).

Refer to the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA)'s Technical Resources for additional discussion on these processes.

There are a variety of common processing methods within the open and closed molding processes:

In general, best management practices are important in other facets of operations, such as resin and chemical management and storage, air filtration and ventilation, employee healthy and safety, and solid waste management and recycling,

Typical inputs to fiberglass fabrication can include (but are not limited to):

Typical outputs of fiberglass fabrication can include the following, some of which are hazardous depending on the nature of the raw material:

A number of alternative processes and materials can minimize environmental impact and worker exposure during fiberglass manufacturing. See Pollution Prevention Opportunities for a list.


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Hub Last Updated: 9/5/2014