Category Archives: firework factory



The mechanized ground fireworks festival has been an important part of the Fiesta celebrations to be held in Malta.

The competition between the factories has always been fierce and it is a matter of intense pride to win the award for your own factory resulting in the competitors striving for excellence every time.

Nar ta' l-Art, Floriana.

The setting up of the Fest Ta Nar (fire festival) takes the majority of the day to complete as in addition to the usual set up of the fireworks there is a great deal more intricate and complicated parts to ensure are in working order and are connected to the relevant effect. The maximum dimension of the wheel must be no more than 30 feet across. They are a complex fusion of levels, gears, wheels, chains and links resulting in 3D movement with the ability to open and close, rotate and move forth and back too with added pyrotechnics.

The Firework factories included in this year’s event are as follows:

St Margaret’s Firework Association
15th August Fireworks Association
Our Lady of Nativity Fireworks Association
Fontana Fireworks Association
St Paul’s Fireworks Complex
St Josephs Firework Complex
22 February Fireworks Association
Mount Carmel Factory
St Catherine’s Pyrotechnic Association
St Bartholomew’s Fireworks Association
St Leonard’s Firework Factory
15th August Fireworks Factory

There are 30 firework companies on the Island and pyro remains at the very heart of the people of Malta and have been since the very early part of the 11th century when they were intrinsic to celebrations. For the most part there would have used cannon and musket fire and the sound of the explosion of crackers in quick succession as an expression of joy/celebration and over the years this grew into an event which now include the ‘Malta International Firework Festival‘, a competition which takes place each Saturday including 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th April 2016 in a number of locations across the Island.

Here is a taster of some of last year’s examples of engineering and pyrotechnics coming together to create beautiful effects.



Wyn Testing Epic Fireworks May 2013

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.

Big Rolls Of Paper For Tubes  - Epic Fireworks China Trip 2012

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.

Jimmy Goes Firework Testing in China July 2012 - A 70 Shot Fan Barrage In Production

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.

Rows Of King Cobra  - Epic Fireworks China Trip 2012

8. Place the fireworks into the shipping carton

The final step is to put the barrages into the UN carton ready for shipment.

Jimmy Testing Fireworks

As you see, making fireworks is a very time-consuming, labour intensive job. So, back to the opening paragraph, WTF is this:

Wyn Testing Epic Fireworks May 2013


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.

The Future of Fireworks

Job Done.

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 🙂



Wyn Back From China Testing Trip

Wyn shows off his six pack and his new Hi Vis Vest

Mr Wyn Lewis (AKA Top Man Wyn) is responsible for quality control and to ensure all our epic fireworks comply to British Standards (BS:7114) and make double sure that the Chinese have manufactured what they showed us earlier in the year…..they have a habit of changing things if you don’t keep an eye on them!

Having been in the fireworks industry for over 30 years, Wyn is regarded as a ‘nightmare’ by the firework factories in China – he doesn’t miss a trick!

Wyn began the first part of his trip with one of the rocket factories we use. Once he arrived, he met the factory manager and was given a short tour of the factory.

Whilst touring the rocket factory Wyn was checking on the following:

The quality of the printed labels, header and backing cards for the rocket packs
Check the warning label/warning instructions
Inspect the quality of the UN cartons (the cardboard box the rockets get shipped in)
The use of organised and forced child labour
The strength of the cardboard tubes used in the rocket head
The quality of the fuse and the lift charge
The quality of the metallic caps sometimes used in the larger rockets
To ensure a fair treatment to workers in the rocket factory
The quality of the plastic fuse protector
The quality of the glue being used
Make sure the working conditions are safe and hygienic
The bore-size, length and strength of the launching tubes
The length, size and quality of the rocket stick
To ensure no harsh treatment was subjected to any of the factory staff/workers
Cleanliness of the factory
A quick nosey to see what other rockets were being made 😉
General health and safety etc…

Here’s a short video of the rocket factory tour.

After the tour Wyn was treated to a spot of local Chinese food. Something like below, enjoy.

Then, back to the rocket factory to select rockets at random for testing, see video below.

Once the rockets had been selected at random, Wyn then tested the rockets both during the day and at night to ensure they complied with our high standards.

Epic Fireworks - There it Goes

The second part of his trip was with one of the barrage/cake factories. Again the firework factory had started to produce our barrages and random samples were taken from the production line and rigorously tested. More to follow soon on the next blog post.