Category Archives: Firework Technology

International Symposium on Fireworks


Since its inception in 1992, there have been 11 such events, bringing together every aspect of the pyrotechnic industry to openly debate burning issues, check out new technology and of course, see some of the latest pyrotechnics in use.

Here’s some exclusive video footage for this years meet up:

The letters and characters are fired from a rack !!! Cool or what 🙂

The event was last held in Liuyang, China in 2013 and it was reportedly a rip-roaring success.

Over the 5 days at this year’s event, visitors can enjoy chatting with others in the industry, trade ideas and best practice and address the burning issues of pollution/transportation and storage. There will be tutorials on pollution, the science of fireworks, where the industry is headed and of course, the advancements in technology. In addition, there will be a number of smaller firework displays.

Last time in Changsha, Dun Pai fireworks created a pyromusical display with 5600 pieces across a 600m expanse. The only issue was that due to the width of the firing site for the demo, the team struggled to have the music and the pyro in perfect time (sound doesn’t travel as fast as light – hence the reason if you are a long way from a firework, you will see the burst before you hear it!) and of course, they included one of the most over-used tracks in display fireworks: ‘The Prayer’ by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. But, the fireworks were very cleverly used to evoke the emotion of the music. The change of pace came in the form of a musical score I didn’t recognise but the pyro fitted it beautiful and some of the shell bursts were absolutely amazing. I particularly like the bows and strobing space ships.

The finale of course was astonishing and incredibly loud and bright. The last few seconds was so powerful, it made the cameras shake and white out!

We will bring you news of issues raised and addressed during the symposium later in the year but in the meantime, enjoy last year’s display from Dun Pai Fireworks:



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 🙂



New Years Eve Fireworks in Hong Kong

New Years Eve Fireworks in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is perhaps the best place to be this New Years Eve for one of the best fireworks displays in the world.

Costing almost 8,000,000 Hong Kong Dollars to produce, this year’s countdown will be one of the most amazing to date.

Fireworks will be launched from the rooftops of the buildings all along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour. Sweeping from the East side all the way to the IFC, the countdown will commence with numbers ten to one in fireworks in the sky.

At the stroke of midnight there will be a four minute long pyrotechnic extravaganza of a massive dragon dancing across the Hong Kong Skyline. This is likely to be exceptional stuff, we all remember the giant bird in Dubai back in March. It will take some beating but we think a giant dancing dragon will definitely do the job.

Our top tip for the best place to be for New Years Eve 2010/2011 is Hong Kong!