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Possibility of starting a new firework manufacturing business


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Poll: The possibility of starting a new firework manufacturing business in Britain. (33 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 pyrotechnist

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:21 AM

Just curios to what peoples reactions are to starting new firework manufacturing businesses within the UK. With the modern methods and formulas we now know some formulas are a lot cheaper to produce. It would be interesting to if anyone would ever manufacture consumer fireworks or display fireworks within the UK again. With the price of importing cheap chinese fireworks and classifications etc they can become pretty expensive and to be honest, no dissing any importers, the quality of some fireworks lately are abysmal to say the least. This makes me wonder if you can just about cope with producing them in the UK, plus some people like myself feel warm in the fact it has Made in England on the back.

Edited by pyrotechnist, 30 June 2010 - 10:24 AM.

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#2 Guest_PyroPDC_*

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:58 AM

Just curios to what peoples reactions are to starting new firework manufacturing businesses within the UK. With the modern methods and formulas we now know some formulas are a lot cheaper to produce. It would be interesting to if anyone would ever manufacture consumer fireworks or display fireworks within the UK again. With the price of importing cheap chinese fireworks and classifications etc they can become pretty expensive and to be honest, no dissing any importers, the quality of some fireworks lately are abysmal to say the least. This makes me wonder if you can just about cope with producing them in the UK, plus some people like myself feel warm in the fact it has Made in England on the back.



i think with increasing shipping and importing tax always going up and the pound value, i think its a move importers would like to see, i think its a move supermarkets ect would like to see a British brand, (its like British meat)

even better for things we cant get in like 1.1g item, iv always seen great potential for a L.S.O.D service (Large shells on demand). i cant seem to find 48" shells anywhere now lol :D

Edited by PyroPDC, 30 June 2010 - 10:59 AM.


#3 digger

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:52 AM

Consumer products, I just don't think the economics stack up. For custom and specialty products that is a whole other ball game.
Phew that was close.

#4 digger

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:53 AM

I think its a move supermarkets ect would like to see a British brand, (its like British meat)


Maybe, would they be prepared to pay a premium for the privilege? I doubt it.
Phew that was close.

#5 fruitfulsteve

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:54 AM

I'd love to see something like this happen,and i think we could almost match the Chinese labour rates using wiling volunteer UKPS members and perhaps a few decent whips :lol:

Speaking to a friend of mine who used to manufacture he seems to think a cheap supply of decent BP is a major stumbling block for UK production.
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#6 pyrotechnist

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 12:18 PM

You would need a big upfront investment to get it all off the ground obviously but I do not see to much trouble in keeping competitive with chinese fireworks as lets all be honest fireworks are substantially a lot of money these days anyhow due to importation costs etc. I am sure the cost of materials like chemicals, paper, tubes etc are not so expensive now especially if bought via bulk and tools could be manufactured on site. I see potential rising for such a venture even though or economy is crap and cracking people love fireworks still. Digger when you say you dont see consumer manufacture being economical could you break down what the cons are of doing so? The only reason I mentioned consumer as I believe much better quality and nicer effects could be produced in fireworks within the UK that people will like and want to buy again compared to the same old snap crackle and pop from china, I dont know if any one of you get bored of it but I sure do. You can also offer a custom branding service or a service that allows firework retailers of supermarkets to design their own fireworks for their own specific brand much like they do with a Chinese company etc.

I like how the Maltese seem to do it where volunteers from the village go and help out with the manufacturing. Now I am curios to how much pyrotechnists should earn depending upon the job title e.g. chemical mixers, star manufacturers, assembly, packaging, pickers etc.

Edited by pyrotechnist, 30 June 2010 - 12:22 PM.

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#7 exat808

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 06:44 PM

The state of the firework manufacturing industry in the UK is very much the same as ( or perhaps worse than)some other aspects of commercial explosives production. We have no commercial BP producer, our last nitroglycerine plant was scrapped about 10 years ago, we put detonator assemblies together but dont make the detonators, there is an occasional run of detonating cord and packaged slurry explosives are manufactured by 1 company alone but under a "joint venture" the same products are sold by 3 different companies. I routinely fire shots using Canadian electric detonators, Spanish detonating cord, Italian or Spanish boosters, and plastic or sheet explosives from the Czech Republic and the USA .

The military fare no better. The majority of our filled HE shells are imported, bulk plastic explosives are no longer made in the UK (BAe/ROF Bridgewater closed 12 months ago).

In the UK we now only have a small number of specialist explosive manufacturers concentrating on marine and military pyrotechnics and occasional re runs of military demolition stores and the like and for other specialist areas such as oilwell perforations and pipeline cutting.

The state of our manufacturing base also reflects on the level of expertise in the UK. Most of us are approaching the ends of our careers and see very few following in our steps. There is a serious shortfall of persons with advanced knowledge and experience in the practical use of explosives and I guess this applies to the fireworks industry too. All the main players are now importers/suppliers - the knowledge base has diminshed with you folks as well ?

#8 pyrotechnist

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 06:51 PM

Shows just what a mess this country is, our government call manufacturing dirty jobs and one of the words they once said was that they where going to get rid of all dirty jobs and replace them with service jobs (idiots). It is a good job we have dedicated pyros on this forum who could well hold the future of our diminished pyro industry and push it forward again, even if for another century it is something and we all tried. Its a shame the explosive industry is so crap now, where does it end? I wont go into politics as much as it nafs me off :). Do you know Exat what is happening to the BAE or ROF bridgewater factories?

I am going to try my best to stick to fingers where the sun doesn't shine to this god forsaken government and what once was Great Britain. People can be trained to do basic pyro jobs but at least we will always have our fellow dedicated pyros who probably know more than anyone who could take a degree in such a subject if there was one!
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#9 exat808

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:10 PM

Without getting into the politics the decline has been going on throughout the last few administrations. Much of the problem is from the EU free market where a producer from a member state can market their product to the UK at far lower costs than the UK producer - end result - no UK producer.

The Bridgewater site will have to be fully decontaminated and will probably be sold as a "brown field" commercial site. Ther UK Government has now had to put out for international tender for the supply of the specialist plastic explosives and cutting charges made at Bridgewater. Myself and a few colleagues were lucky enough to be able to acquire the last of the Bridgewater production runs - but as they say - when its gone its gone!!

I guess that the market has changed for fireworks? Goverment and social influences may have changed the public perception of what we want fireworks for. Is it for better or worse - I really dont know.

Edited by exat808, 30 June 2010 - 07:14 PM.


#10 crystal palace fireworks

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 09:00 PM

I think there is definately scope to produce a limited line of pyro products that is unique to the marine, arms , explosives and farming industries etc,....... providing you can give them value for money or your product is unique.

Insurance costs maybe the biggest factor due to our litigation culture.

I also agree with fruitfulsteve on the manufacture of gunpowder,...nobody makes it here anymore = scope to supply shooting clubs etc.

On a related issues, due to crass EU precurement & trading legislation, public owned bodies in this country are not allowed to favour the buying of british made goods or services, because they can not be seen to back UK companies in favour of EU countries, unless that company has something unique to offer that no one else makes or provides within the EU, so in essence, backing british is futile under the current free trade EU agreements = angers me!

Although I wonder if some of the old banned british fireworks could be made to sell to european countries not in the EU?

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 09:07 PM

Maybe, would they be prepared to pay a premium for the privilege? I doubt it.


why do they have to be a premium just because its British. when the mad cows disease came this whole British meat thing became so impotent but prices didn't go up. all i mean is yes labour is cheap in china but every year prices to ship explosives to the uk are going up and up and most wholesalers are having to take the price increase. if they were made in the uk there must be a lot of ways to bring to the same price but better quality.

Edited by PyroPDC, 30 June 2010 - 09:09 PM.


#12 pyrotechnist

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:24 PM

We shouldn't even be part of the EU as we gain nothing from it but that's for another day :), I feel your anger though! Even if you produce a small line of fireworks for consumers like mines, candles, bouquets, fountains, small selection boxes and small wheels as testing products to see how they hit off and how well each one sells etc. Standard may well have been manufacturing fireworks if they never sold off to Black cat, Kimbolton manufacture and so do Le MaƮtre etc so it isn't impossible. It would be good to also see a custom fireworks service and branding of products etc.
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#13 Peret

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 07:17 AM

My opinion - I don't live in Britain - is that you couldn't even pay the overheads and taxes with the income from selling shop goods. A lot of space is needed, which will be taxed by the square foot even when it's just useless grassy space between sheds. It will need full time staff just to maintain the land and the fences - talking of which, it will need 24 hour security. It will need full time office staff just to handle compliance and safety regulations. You have to pay for all that overhead before you can even employ one person to fill cases... Then, you're not allowed to sell the profitable products like shells, and you're up against the Chinese on prices, which are unbelievably low even taking shipping into account. I remember buying some Brocks 1 inch shells, long time ago now, and paying a fiver each. Twenty years of inflation later, I can buy bigger and better Chinese consumer shells for 1/3 that price retail, and one eighth that price wholesale, after the importer, the shipper, the distributor and the wholesaler have all taken their cut. Small Chinese rockets can be had by the case for less than a dollar a gross - cheap enough that some people set them off in batteries of ten thousand at a time. How can anyone compete with that and stay in business?

It may be that Chinese won't always be so cheap. I don't see it happening next year, though, and as others pointed out, the skills are being lost, the public attitude is being reshaped, and maybe when that time comes it won't be possible. I believe there will always be fireworks, even if it has to become a completely underground hobby, and all the knowledge won't be lost. But as for a domestic shop goods industry, the world has to turn a good few times before that will ever be an option again.

#14 digger

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 10:19 AM

why do they have to be a premium just because its British. when the mad cows disease came this whole British meat thing became so impotent but prices didn't go up. all i mean is yes labour is cheap in china but every year prices to ship explosives to the uk are going up and up and most wholesalers are having to take the price increase. if they were made in the uk there must be a lot of ways to bring to the same price but better quality.


This has already been covered, but the basics are that the making of cakes is an extremely labour intensive task (OK a few devices maybe viable, like mines etc). Hence we would not be able to compete with Chinese products on labour costs alone ($100 per month is good for a Chinese worker).
Phew that was close.

#15 pyrotechnist

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 01:55 PM

That is true but we cannot just give up or not produce businesses on the sole reason the Chinese will out run us as we will be even more worse off than we are now, we are heading deeper into the abyss at the moment with our unstable, useless economy. What is Britain to do with no manufacturing? I see a few companies start up in Britain and they are small at times and are beat on some prices via the cheap competition and yet they stay in business with their British born products. Some people like the fact things are made in Britain and some times it is of a better quality than the cheap tat we get from abroad. Im sure not going to see our pyro industry go down the hill even more and even demise, once its gone its virtually gone! We follow and kiss Americas ass yet we dont follow with their laws on pyro, I so wish they did.
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