I bet you’re all thinking WTF is that above picture all about !
Well, before I tell you, let me give you a brief reminder (and apologies if you already know this) of what kind of work goes into making a cake / barrage.
1. Roll the tubes
Step 1 involves rolling the tubes. Many years ago this was done by hand, but in the past 10 years or so, machines have been introduced to roll the tubes, just like below.
2. Dry the tubes
Once the tubes have been rolled and cut to size they are then left outside to dry. Depending on the time of the year, sometimes the tubes are placed in a ‘drying room’ due to the rainy season or damp weather. Having strong tubes is crucial – more info here.
Ideally, the tubes that are dried naturally tend to be much stronger.
3. The bung
Step 3 involves ‘breaking down’ the ‘red China earth’ into a fine powder as shown in the video below.
Machines (video below) are then used to turn the fine red powder into a clay bung (sometimes these are made from plastic to keep the weight down) to one end of the tube. This acts as a solid base for the firework to recoil against and forces the effect to go upwards.
4. Insert the lift charge and effect chamber into the tube
Once the tubes have been rolled, dried, and bunged at one end, the next process is to insert the lift-charge and the effects. This could be stars, whistles etc.
5. Linking the tubes together
Once you have all the tubes loaded with the different effects, the next job is to link them all together, using glue, tape, visco fuse, paper and loads of patience.
6. Insert Cardboard disc
This is where you add a cardboard disc inside the tubes to stop any composition from falling out and it also helps to contain the energy inside the tube once it starts its chemical reaction.
7. Add the label
This involves wrapping a label around the firework and sometimes on top of the fireworks.
8. Place the fireworks into the shipping carton
The final step is to put the barrages into the UN carton ready for shipment.
As you see, making fireworks is a very time-consuming, labour intensive job. So, back to the opening paragraph, WTF is this:
WELL, THIS IS THE FUTURE OF FIREWORK CAKES / BARRAGES – AND YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST
This will be how cakes and barrages are made in the future. The mould is made 100% from recycled materials including vegetable fibre, recycled paper, starch, calcium carbonate, and glue and it’s extremely strong – which makes it even safer.
There will be no need to roll the tubes, wait till the tubes dry, insert a bung……etc……. Now, all you do is insert the lift-charge and effect chamber, add the cardboard disc, add the fuse underneath (see pic below) and wrap the label around the firework.
In theory, the price of firework cakes and barrages should come down as this process removes a lot of production time (and the labour costs in China are going up and up and up every year) but the initial investment in the new machines that produce the mould is very very expensive.
So, a very well done to our Chinese suppliers for coming up with this awesome idea – the only thing they haven’t figured out (yet) is that they can’t produce fan cakes this way !
But watch this space !
More news on this fantastic development to follow soon