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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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#46 pyrotechnist

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 10:37 AM

I believe there are a few niches to be had when it comes to pyro. The assembly of tubes for cakes I dont think will be the costly part the main issues would be on the inserts, powder, wages etc etc. I am sure if anyone had hundreds of motor tubes pre-plugged etc you could knock up a few cakes pretty darn quick, minus inserts all ready for loading. If you are lucky enough to own a press and the tools and plates to press say 30 or 50 inserts at a time with a tail, if you so wish, and clay delay with fuse then you can get them done in no time then comes loading each one with powder. Again if you dont mind placing the same amount of stars in each shell you can use a multi-loading tool much like Standard Fireworks used to load all the tubes at the same time or quickly do it individually. The last bit would be capping each insert and filling the top with some sort of quick drying cement like substance, I use cheap polyfilla which works a treat mixed with glue. To what I understand you can buy tubes for a few pence each with large enough orders which you would need anyhow. Packers, pickers, labellers and finishers can probably get away with minimum wage as they dont do out else but the same job day in and day out. I dont aim to please supermarkets as they sell drivel anyhow I am thinking about dedicated pyro shops and other small shops where fireworks are all ready EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE for cheap foreign crap. Like 60 quid for a small cake or 70 cake for a 30 shot cake etc and even more or 25 quid for a large single rocket and the list goes on. It would also be a little easier with a bigger backing of income coming in from another source anyway which will help out extremely well.
fireworks is my aim setting of is the game

#47 digger

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 10:41 AM

Show us an example of your costing model then.
Phew that was close.

#48 pyrotechnist

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:38 AM

I dont have one, just ideas. It also take to long to Wright such a list up factoring in labour, tax, material cost, electricity used for any machines, insurance, classification, quality control, wrapping and labelling, packing etc.
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#49 Arthur Brown

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:43 AM

Remembering that sales tax accounts for ~20% of the retail price roughly and a retailer needs a profit to finally do the selling.

A £3.50 item has to leave the UK wholesaler at no more than £1.25 +vat so has to be made for less than 90p.

At £9 per hour that is six minutes of total time without any ingredients cost or 3 minutes total time and 45p for ingredients.

How much making can one do in three minutes....
http://www.movember.com/uk/home/

Keep mannequins and watermelons away from fireworks..they always get hurt..

#50 digger

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:04 PM

I dont have one, just ideas. It also take to long to Wright such a list up factoring in labour, tax, material cost, electricity used for any machines, insurance, classification, quality control, wrapping and labelling, packing etc.


You have written some pretty long replies on this thread. It should only take half an hour to write out a list of all the materials and times for each operation. Do this as a base cost for the item. this will give you an idea of whether it is viable before thinking about the bigger picture of the fixed overheads.

Say do it for a 30mm 50 shot cake, a sort of middle of the road item.
Phew that was close.

#51 pyrotechnist

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 02:25 PM

Will try it, not that I am wanting to head in this direction just yet ;) few things to do. I wouldn't want to pay out 9 pounds per hour :) nice wage of 360 per week if doing 40 hours. To do a price list it wouldn't be so accurate without the proper figures of machines, toolings etc but I will have a go. Any one know the current prices per tube for say several thousand of them? I would think getting the basic machinery and rolling them yourself may prove to be cheaper though not sure. Now one could be mad and get all cakes made and fused in China to be loaded within the UK though I wouldn't be sure on how much that would save one. I would still think all tubes could be plugged and punched via a machine, no handling of live material here though!

The cakes themselves can be built like so:

  • Wooden jig in shape of cake, e.g. fan cake, a few thousond paper seperates that fit the jig and are fan shaped but only cover half of the tubes height to leave room for the fuse.
  • Then you get a wooden or plastic plate dump a load of glue or wheat paste on it and lay all your motor tubes for one layer out on the glue and add them glue side down on the paper seperator in the rougth shape of a fan and then apply another seperator and repeat until you have say 20 or 30 rows and then align them so that they are all in position.
  • Now leave to dry and repeat consistently throughout the day, no wingy workers here as they can easily be replaced via foreign workers.
  • Then each dry layer is fused with pre-cut visco, again this could be done via a machine or quickly by hand, and then celotape is applied to protect the fuse from the last or next layer.
  • Each section is then glued to each other and finishing fuses are added. Then comes loading with pre-finished items.

Now I aint talking about cheap crappy little cakes here I am talking about the more expensive larger cakes not these snap crackle and pop or cheap whistling things that would waste more money. I believe doing cakes will be just as laborious as producing shells or mines and I personally think the worst ones being Roman candles unless you use the Chinese method. I do know where you are coming from though with cakes using a big amount of resources etc. Some of it may boil down to how the members of staff are performing and how much work load you can place upon them. I dont see how glueing hundreds of cake sections and assembling empty cakes can denote someone to have a higher wage than a general warehouse operative who works just as hard instead they aint sitting down!
fireworks is my aim setting of is the game

#52 digger

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 02:28 PM

Yep I know the tube prices on 10000 plus, what size are you talking?

P.S. ask portfire how long it takes to knock together 50 tubes into a cake.

P.P.S forget about machines just do a simple list breaking the manual operation down into the base tasks. Then do a simple list for all of the materials.

Edited by digger, 08 July 2010 - 02:30 PM.

Phew that was close.

#53 pyrotechnist

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 03:40 PM

The example bore size of 30mm mate, thats why I outlined the easier method that the Chinese currently use and seems to knock out cakes extremely quickly though I do not see the Chinese use presses much they seem to use manual labour for clay plugs etc. It still wouldn't be accurate mate as I dont have chemical prices for bulk chemicals minus how much you take of the chemical to make a batch of stars, burst and other effects etc. Fuse could be produced here simple enough as the machines are easy to make or get made and they dont use many resources. Black powder would be the most expensive I personally think for its storage and its buying price. One reason why I shy away from using it now.

For the card separators I would use grey board of 2mm which you can buy in bulk pretty cheap from places like Britania etc and then die press the shapes getting around 10 or 20 per sheet depending on the size and shape of the cake. Plenty of companies can do this for you in large quantities cheaply enough or you can buy the tools and do it yourself. The tubes I would want to be as cheaply as possible in large production runs. The clay would be pressed via a machine and the fuse whole(s) punches at the correct height for the tube size. The glue is cheap, especially if you use wheat paste which is adequate enough. The assembly of tubes and fusing shouldn't take to long as long as the correct frames and toolings are provided, minus lazy workers.

Edited by pyrotechnist, 08 July 2010 - 03:59 PM.

fireworks is my aim setting of is the game

#54 digger

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 05:32 PM

Go on step up to the challenge. Just write a list of the operations required, maybe split it into a couple of headings such as cake building, composition manufacture, insert manufacture. Write out a list of components required.

All that is needed is simple lists. We can put costs to it after you have done the list.

You say it is possible so lets prove or disprove it.

I have done loads of math and analysis for people on here so your turn.
Phew that was close.

#55 exat808

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 06:36 PM

Following the thread with interest.
Viewing it from my position I see that there is a great deal of distance between "the aspirationists" and "the realists".
Someone noted that it may be feasible to piggyback a new manufacturing facility onto an existing explosives site. There are a couple of sites that come to mind 1. the Faldingworth site occupied by Skydock Ltd and 2. the former RAF Bentwaters site in Suffolk. Also heard that Cosmics storage site at Dunscroft near Doncaster may be available.

#56 digger

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 06:57 PM

Following the thread with interest.
Viewing it from my position I see that there is a great deal of distance between "the aspirationists" and "the realists".


It is imperative to be pragmatic and systematic in analysing the issues or it is just a daydream.

Someone noted that it may be feasible to piggyback a new manufacturing facility onto an existing explosives site. There are a couple of sites that come to mind 1. the Faldingworth site occupied by Skydock Ltd and 2. the former RAF Bentwaters site in Suffolk. Also heard that Cosmics storage site at Dunscroft near Doncaster may be available.


There are even a few others out there with some possibilities. TLSFX is at Faldingworth (I would guess amoungst other ventures).

Interesting about Cosmic's site at Doncaster. Are they leaving?
Phew that was close.

#57 exat808

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 07:06 PM

).

Interesting about Cosmic's site at Doncaster. Are they leaving?
[/quote]

They tried to sell it last year but the deal fell through. It is a good storage site that may lend itself to manufacture. The buildings are in a fair to good condition. No power or other services on site. Security is poor to fair. It currently has an HSE storage license and I presume Cosmic ( or the new Cosmic company that is in being) would still want to sell it. I believe that they still store elsewhere - Faldingworth and elsewhere.

#58 RFD

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:04 PM

Have to say this is a most interesting debate,its nice to see enthusiasm for was once part of our manufacturing industries,but to run a successful business you have to do a bit of soul searching and ask yourself if the hobby/pastime that you do now, would be so much pleasure if you had to pay the bills out of it,believe me i would love to be involved in manufacturing fireworks and am always open to good business opportunity's,as Kimbolton seem to be the last of the dynasty possibly asking them for a hopefully unbiased opinion of potential manufacturing might be the way forward,unfortunately romantics and business make bad companions,still 'he who dares wins Rodney'.

#59 CCH Concepts

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:19 PM

Joining to threads together, it would be interesting to price up the old methods bp, perchlorate oxidisers etc compared to sulfates/ carbonate oxidisers and sorbate lift. Not saying this is ready for production but it would be interesting to compare costs

#60 pyrotechnist

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:44 PM

Here goes:

Tube plugging and fuse punching:

Machine to do this process with flexibility for multiple size ranges. The tubes are then packed into boxes ready for use or storage.

Stars:

  • Worker goes to chemical store and selects the correct amounts of chemicals needed for the composition he/she is working with and signs the chemicals out.
  • The chemicals are then mixed on a bench within the star manufacturing facility and seived to make sure a readily mixed mix is produced.
  • The mix is then seperated half and half into two buckets and one is wetted down with either water/alcohol mix or acetone within a confined ventalated room.
  • The mix is then dumped into a star roller and the stars are manufactured to the correct size by their thousonds.
  • Once done the stars are sent to the drying building and left to dry.
  • Once dry the stars are placed into a paper lined card container or wooden storage box and labelled accordingly and then taken to the material stores until used.

Fuse preparation:

  • A machine is loaded with a reel of visco which is then unwound and cut to the desired length, this visco can then be used for insert timing, cake section timing, fuses going from tube to tube or other processes. The fuses are dumped into a plastic bucket via the machine.
  • The fuses are then packed into small boxes and sealed for use.
  • The fuse is then sent to the material stores.

Inserts:

  • The insert tubes are laid out on to a press plate and the fuses are inserted into the plates fuse wholes for the timed delay of the inserts.
  • Clay is then added in a specific amount per tube and the delay is then press, 30 inserts at a time.
  • The inserts are then left on the pressing plate ready for loading.
  • The stars and burst powder are correctly measured out and mixed together in a none-static bucket.
  • A loading hopper is then applied over the insert tubes and the contents are loaded into the hopper which is then gently shaked to make sure each tube is loaded to the correct level with effects and burst.
  • The hopper is removed and a card plug is pushed into each tube and a squert of quick drying filla is applied to seal the insert.
  • The inserts are then removed from the pressing plate and placed upon a mesh screen within a brass cage ready to go to the drying building.

Empty Cake Manufacture, Building with seperation wall from each process carried out:

  • Lay glue out on plastic or wood plate and place pre-plugged tubes with fuse wholes facing upwards into the glue, say 10 tubes at once.
  • Get the cake design template and add the cake sectional seperator which will fit snugly inside of the template which will be made out of wood. Then apply the tubes glue side down on the card seperator in a fan, horizontal, verticle or any other shape you are working with.
  • Repeat the above process until you reach the top of the wooden template and remove template and repeat for the needed amount of cake sections.
  • Leave cake sections to dry and once dry move them to building section B where each section will be fused and taped.
  • Once a section is fused and taped it is placed in a cake template corrisponding to the cakes design and the other sections are fused and taped and glued card seperator side down to the tubes on the row below it.
  • Once done the cake is then glued to a card base and the fuses are applied to connect each row together. The cake is then taken to the drying building.
  • More than one damp cake is taken to be dried, around 20 depending on size at a time for economy and money saving issues.

Cake Loading:

  • 'barrow' boys will deliver the cages of empty pre-prepared cakes, stars, powder, fuses and other materials to the construction building ready for assembly via the pyrotechnist.
  • Several empty pre-fused cakes are placed on the work bench and then a scoop of lift powder is applied to each tube of each cake laid out as quickly as possible.
  • The correct insert or other effects are then loaded above the lift powder for the specific rows in each cake, productions of the same cake will be done in one building.
  • The tubes will then be capped and the process will be repeated for the remainder cakes and sent out to the labellers and finishing building.
  • The finishers and labellers will apply the paper on top of the cake and side labelling and also apply re-enforced tape around the cake encase of a tube ruptor.
  • The cakes are then left to dry while other cakes are going through the same process.

Packing of cakes:

  • The cakes are then packed into boxes and stored into a brass cage ready to be loaded into a magazine.

fireworks is my aim setting of is the game




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