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Revolutionizing Fireworks Production The Benefits and Advancements of Mechanical Manufacturing

Revolutionizing Fireworks Production The Benefits and Advancements of Mechanical Manufacturing

Table of Contents
    Challenges in fireworks equipment production

    The rich tradition of fireworks in China dates back centuries. However, the production industry has faced instability due to outdated methods. But with the changing times, the industry is poised to head for a transformation.

    Mechanization brings productivity, speed, and safety to the forefront, promoting a healthier and more organized industry. And in this shift, automation of combined production is critical.

    • It provides a means of mechanized production that improves safety factors, reduces production costs, and boosts resource utilization.
    • Compared to traditional production modes, automated production enhances product quality, efficiency, and profitability.
    • By implementing mechanization and automation, the industry embraces modernization and innovation, opening up new opportunities for growth and success.

    So, if you want to protect and enhance your fireworks business, consider the benefits of mechanization and automation. Embrace the future and revolutionize your industry!


    The cultural custom of setting off fireworks has a long history in China. The traditional fireworks production industry is lagging behind and unstable. With the development of the times, the fireworks and firecrackers industry is facing the opportunity for transformation. The productivity and security brought by mechanization are gradually promoting this industry’s healthy and orderly development. In the mechanized processing of fireworks and firecrackers, the automation of the combined production of fireworks and firecrackers plays a vital role. Compared with the traditional production mode of making fireworks and firecrackers, it provides an important means of mechanized production to improve the safety factor of production, improve product quality, reduce production costs, and make full use of resources.

    Keywords: fireworks, mechanization, automation production line, human-machine separation, human-drug separation, combination Tobacco production.

    China is the birthplace of fireworks, with a long history of setting them off as both a tradition and a cultural practice. Fireworks and firecrackers are mainly made from black powder, and when ignited, they produce effects such as light, sound, color, shape, and smoke, which are used for viewing. These items are highly flammable and explosive and thus pose a significant danger. Throughout history, the industry has relied mainly on manual production methods with no mechanization involved. The vast majority of fireworks are produced in intensive manual workshops, where each process step is done by hand, from sorting production materials to making the shells. Due to the high labor intensity (labor shortage) and low productivity, the education level of the industry workforce is primarily at the junior high school level or below, and their personal qualities and awareness of self-protection are relatively poor. With the development of time and advancements in technology, the progress of the fireworks business has been extremely slow. There are no rules and regulations within the industry, leading to a lack of basic safety production environments and industrial processes, which has severely constrained the healthy and orderly development of the industry.

    Historical Overview of the Fireworks Industry

    Since ancient times, the Chinese nation has had a tradition of setting off fireworks and firecrackers during festivals, which has been around for over 1,300 years. Due to serious environmental pollution and safety issues caused by traditional fireworks and firecrackers, many large and medium-sized cities in China banned them from 1988 to 1996. Since 1996, some cities have started to lift the ban. By 2005, 283 cities had implemented “prohibition and restriction” policies, marking the beginning of a period of rapid development in the fireworks business. In recent years, large-scale national events have frequently been held, and setting off fireworks has become a way to enhance the atmosphere of these events. For example, during the G20 Hangzhou Summit in 2016, fireworks displays lit up the sky and stunned the world. The export volume of fireworks has continued to increase, with China’s fireworks business serving the world and benefiting all of humanity. Currently, China is the world’s largest producer, exporter, and consumer of fireworks, accounting for 90% of global production and approximately 80% of world trade.

    Problems in the traditional fireworks and firecracker industry

    With the rapid development of the fireworks and firecracker industry, a series of problems have emerged, leading to disorderly market competition and various safety hazards. Due to gunpowder in fireworks and firecrackers, safety accidents may occur if producers do not follow relevant regulations during production or violate production standards. However, the illegal production of oversized transportation, and distribution persist. According to statistics, in 2010, 9 major accidents occurred in legal production enterprises, of which 7 occurred during the production , accounting for 77.8%. Since 2011, there have been 4 accidents resulting in 22 deaths in legal production enterprises, all of which were related to fireworks and firecracker production accidents. Serious accidents frequently occur in the production of fireworks and firecrackers. According to reports, at 9:40 a.m. on August 16, 2010, Huali Industry Co., Ltd. in Heilongjiang province illegally organized production, resulting in an explosion. After further investigation, the explosion at the 816 fireworks factory directly caused 30 deaths, 3 missing persons, and 3 related deaths. The accident also caused a fire in a neighboring wood factory. At 6 a.m. on March 2, 2011, during the production of fireworks and firecrackers in a certain firecracker factory in Ningyuan County, Yongzhou City, Hunan Province, an explosion occurred during the mixing, filling, and transferring of explosives and explosives cakes, resulting in 5 deaths and 3 injuries. Both buildings of the two explosive production lines in the enterprise were destroyed. On January 19, 2011, during the production in a firecracker factory in Luohe City, an explosion occurred during the sealing operation of a two-way process, resulting in 10 deaths, 21 injuries, and direct economic losses of 3.346 million yuan. The main causes of these accidents are that the weighing, mixing, and filling of explosives were carried out in the same workshop, the cross-operation of transport workers, and the number of explosives stored exceeded the specified value. In each case, the important reasons for the safety hazards in the production were that the enterprise did not strictly comply with national safety technical regulations and safety norms, employees’ safety awareness was weak, and the production line lacked safety guarantees. The backwardness of the traditional craftsmanship in the fireworks and firecracker industry and the low overall quality of employees are warning signs that the mechanization the industry is imperative.

    The current status of the Mechanical Manufacturing of fireworks

    Through historical development, the traditional fireworks and firecracker industry has gradually formed 24 main production and tools for firecracker production. Mechanization achieves man-machine separation and minimizes on-site personnel involved in the handling of explosives, promoting the mechanization of production through product standardization. With the promotion of modern machinery in the fireworks and firecracker industry, producing fireworks and firecrackers, which was once considered a high-risk industry, is now seen as “low-risk” or “non-risk.”

    Gradually replacing manual labor, especially the use and promotion of “loading machines,” dangerous processes like loading nitrate are now replaced by machines, making the production safer and more cost efficient. Technology has provided a new boost to this industry’s productivity.

    According to the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” requirements, it is estimated that a total of 924 fireworks and firecracker production companies in Liuyang City, Hunan Province, have used mechanization to varying degrees in their production systems with 846 in Liuyang City and 78 in Ningxiang City. Since the beginning of this year, there has been a pilot project to promote the mechanization of drug-related and hazardous processes in newly built and expanded enterprises. Currently, three companies, Dongda Fireworks Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Guotai Export Fireworks Factory in Liuyang City, and Changsha Doudou Firecracker Factory, have invested more than 40 million yuan in total to complete the pilot tasks of key hazardous process mechanization production, such as fireworks ball laying, fireworks and explosives mixing, and firecracker automation production. By forcing promotion, the city’s fireworks and firecracker enterprises have now applied 320 fireworks ball laying machines, 110 fireworks and explosives automatic mixing machines, 218 automatic loading machines for firecrackers, and 160 air source heat pump drying equipment at key drug-related positions, with a total of approximately 10,787 production machinery in use.

    To actively respond to the national call and further promote the “five modernizations” (industrialization, standardization, mechanization, technological nation, and intensification) of fireworks and firecracker production and improve enterprise safety production levels, the world’s first combination fireworks automation production line was successfully developed by Zhongzhou Fireworks Group in Liuyang City in September 2016, ushering in revolutionary progress in the fireworks and firecracker industry.

    The Importance of Promoting the Mechanization of Fireworks Production

    It is necessary to separate humans and medicine, enhance the essential safety of fireworks production, prevent accidents from a safety production perspective, and ensure safety. Fireworks production is a typical labor-intensive industry. According to the traditional production mode, people directly contact gunpowder, and each process is manual, which leads to very low production efficiency and cannot meet the requirements of factory standards. Safety cannot be guaranteed, resulting in accidents and casualties. According to statistics, before 2008, in Changsha City, where the mechanization of fireworks production had not yet been promoted, the number of deaths caused by production safety accidents each year was over 20. After 2008, Changsha City gradually promoted the mechanization of fireworks production, and the number of deaths caused by production safety accidents each year significantly decreased and was controlled to around 10. Since 2008, Liuyang City has been promoting the mechanization of fireworks production, including the automatic loading of fireworks fuse and mechanical mixing of fireworks, which has achieved a “zero-death” safety situation for many factories that have installed this equipment. Therefore, promoting mechanization in fireworks production can play an important role in enhancing the essential safety of production enterprises and preventing accidents.

    1.   It is necessary to implement safety production laws and regulations and achieve the rule of law and technological innovation in safety. In 2010 and 2011, the Provincial Safety Production Supervision and Administration Bureau also made a series of clear requirements for promoting the comprehensive advancement of fireworks and firecracker technology and vigorously promoting the mechanization of fireworks and firecracker production in the key points of fireworks and firecracker safety supervision work.

    It is a new trend in the future development of the fireworks and firecracker industry, where the essential safety of enterprises can be quickly improved, and new achievements in technological innovation and safety can be obtained.

    2.   The mechanization of fireworks production integrates a relatively complete industrial chain of product research and development, production, transportation, marketing, papermaking, packaging, printing, and ignition. It breaks the traditional production methods that have existed for thousands of years and provide a livelihood guarantee for millions of rural people, especially those in underdeveloped and old revolutionary areas, becoming an economic lifeline and pillar industry in some regions. It has played a positive role in effectively arranging surplus rural labor, ensuring and improving farmers’ livelihoods, promoting rural economic development, and maintaining social stability. It has a certain social influence. At the end of November 2016, the country’s first automated firecracker production demonstration line led by Hunan Kefu Fireworks Industry Co., Ltd. will also enter trial operation. The work of inserting and dividing medicine after all on the mechanized production of fireworks, will be reduced from 24 people to 6 people, using only 1/4 of the labor force. Still, work efficiency can be increased by nearly 50%.

    In various data displayed by companies related to fireworks and firecrackers, it can be clearly seen that the mechanized production of fireworks and firecrackers provides an important means of production for the current industry. It has solved the basic contradictions that remain in the traditional form of fireworks and firecrackers industry. Therefore, mechanized production is an essential path for transforming and developing the fireworks and firecrackers industry.

    How to Achieve Mechanized Production of Fireworks and Firecrackers

    One major goal of modernizing the production of fireworks and firecrackers is to achieve automated production of combination fireworks. In this process of mechanical automation, intelligent remote worker control, separation of people and drugs, and human-machine separation have become keywords in the production.

    Huaguan Export Fireworks Co., Ltd. in Liuyang City, Hunan Province, invested 85 million yuan in upgrading its production line, achieving the intelligent, automated, and remote control upgrade of 13 production processes for combination fireworks. It has realized the goal of “replacing humans with machines and reducing the need for automation,” with the building possessing explosion-resistant properties and the number of workers involved in dangerous drug operations being reduced to the greatest extent possible, achieving true human-machine isolation.

    In the production process of sparklers, the processes of weighing single drugs, crushing, mixing, making sparkler cores, producing sparklers, drying, collecting, cooling, and storing involve relatively large amounts of drugs, higher risks, and the most frequent occurrence of production safety accidents in the production of combination fireworks. Through automation transformation, manual operations have been replaced with chemical raw material crushing, drug screening, and drug granulation drying machines, thereby solving common problems in sparkler production, such as uneven drug mixing, low efficiency in sparkler drying, and the need for explosion-proof measures in the sparkler production system.

    In the processes of using the internal and external tube cutting and paper separation machines, applying mud to the outer tube bottom, igniting the outer tube, assembling into a pan, applying mud to the inner tube bottom, transporting, storing, and other processes, internal and external tube molding machines are now used for production. The number of workers required for a single shift has been reduced from 245 to 10, achieving a reduction rate of 95.92%.

    In loading sparklers into the inner tube, opening the explosive charge, crushing the explosive charge, screening, mixing, and other processes, the internal tube filling machine with drugs is now used. In contrast, applying moisture-proof agents, the end-burning charge, and military-grade nitrocellulose powder to the inner tube are changed to using the inner tube effect end-burning machine. These two transformations have reduced the number of employees by 37, solving the high-risk issues of drug transport and feeding, direct friction between the push-pull plate and drugs, and the labor-intensive dependency of the most critical link in the process of mechanization and automation of the existing combination fireworks plant in China (see Figure 1).

    Flow chart of the production system of combination fireworks (inner tube type) products

    Figure 1. Flow chart of components in the production system for combination fireworks (inner tube type) products.

    This process refers to full automation, which means that a group of automated equipment is connected together using material conveyor lines to continuously and automatically complete the production line of multiple processes for a certain product, component, or part. It includes the necessary equipment and facilities that are indispensable for practical use.


    The application of mechanization in the fireworks business is widely recognized and the trend of the times. “People-oriented” and “safety first” are the national policies for building a strong and prosperous country and are also the responsibilities of governments and functional departments at all levels. It is believed that with the joint efforts of all sectors of society in China, the changes brought about by the mechanized making of fireworks will continue to develop, deepen and improve towards scientific, efficient, and safe directions and will bring a prosperous and better future (better salaries) for the fireworks business.

    The DMA-M signal became saturated while the DMA-D signal still showed relatively good signal growth. It is mainly because DMA-M and DMA-D are in dynamic equilibrium, and the curve under this balanced state is more consistent with the Boltzmann equation. Therefore, the standard curve in this study was established using the DMA-D signal as the detection basis to establish the standard curve.

    Establishment of the Standard Curve

    The DMA was used with a dynamic gas mixer to mix and prepare different concentrations. Each point was measured seven times. The established standard curve is shown in Figure 2. When the instrument’s signal-to-noise ratio was 3, the detection limit was 3 times the baseline noise of 6 mV. The experimental results showed that GC-IMS ion mobility spectrometry’s detection limit for dimethylamine in the atmosphere was 0.008 mg/m3.

    Standard curve of DMA gas chromatography ion mobility spectrum

    Figure 2. Standard curve of DMA gas chromatography ion mobility spectrum

    Spiking Recovery

    DMA standard gas and blank dry air were prepared at different concentrations using a dynamic gas mixer, injected into the gas bag, and then directly sampled. The average of the four measurements is shown in Table 1. The GC-IMS determination of the standard substance dimethylamine showed a repeatability RSD ≤8.07% and the spiking recovery rate was between 100.5% and 106%, which can achieve accurate measurement of actual samples.

    Spiking recovery results of DMA

    Table 1: Spiking recovery results of DMA

    Analysis of Actual Samples

    The exhaust gas outlet of the production workshop and its surrounding areas of an elastane manufacturing company were sampled. Organized exhaust gas monitoring was conducted; the results are shown in Table 2. The data for DMA was detected around the company, and the data from its emission outlet was as high as 1.406×10-6, indicating it is a significant source of odor pollution (Table 2).

    Actual sample measurement results


    This study successfully established a rapid and direct monitoring method for DMA in environmental air and waste gas. The method has high sensitivity and accuracy, and compared with various methods reported in previous literature, it can greatly reduce the detection time and directly provide results on-site. The instrument has a small size and low gas consumption and can be used for online environmental air monitoring under appropriate conditions.



    pink and white fireworks display during nighttime

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