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2005 International Symposium Report April 18-22, 2005 Shiga, Japan

By Bill Raynault of

April 2005

This year marked the largest attended The 8th International Symposium of Fireworks (ISF) with over 400 people from 31 different countries, including the United Kingdom, who flew to Japan to share their knowledge and expertise in the firework industry through seminars, papers, round table discussions and a trade show. The 8th International Symposium of Fireworks, which was originally conceived by the Canadian Government, has grown to the point that it held its event in other countries such as USA, Italy, and Spain and thus a committee was formed to organize this grand event.

The ISF Team: Ettore Contestabile, from CERL, is the chairman; the Honorary Chairman Takeo Shimizu who has done much research to advance the art and science of fireworks. Takeo has attended and presented research papers at the first five Symposia. Although he was not able to attend the past two due to his ill health, his effect on the firework industry is felt through the seminars and papers that were presented all week.

The ISF committee includes members from around the world and with the 8th Symposium a Japanese team who helped organize the event. The Symposium Coordinator was Fred Wade from FireworksFX in Nova Scotia, Canada, who should be applauded with his administration team comprising of his wife, Lynn Wade and associate Linda Marriott. They had the job of looking after everyone's needs.

Roger L. Schneider and Masamitsu Tamura were both Technical Program Co-Chairmen who had the huge task of making sure every technical paper was organized properly on top of the work they had to do to organize the presentations, which were presented in both English and Japanese along with interpreters who did a wonderful job of translating all the technical language spoken during these sessions.

Each Technical Session utilized the latest technology including Power Point presentations and these were coordinated by Joeseph A. Domanico whose club, Crackerjacks of USA, helped sponsor the event. It was Joe who provided all the papers on CD for attendees to have.

The Japanese Coordinator and Administration comprised of both Shigeaki Kunitomo and Kanoko Harada. The Japanese Committee includes Masamitsu Tamura, Terushige Ogawa, Masanori Honda, Kazuyoshi Achiwa, Shuzo Fujiwara, Shuji Hatanaka, Fumio Hosoya, Haruyuki Kono, Shigeaki Kunitomo, Hidetsugu Nakamura, Noriaki Nakashima, Motohiro Ogatsu. The Proceedings Editors include Ettore Contestabile, Bert von Rosen, Masamitsu Tamura, Noriaki Nakashima, Kanoko Harada, Roger L. Schneider, and Alexander von Oertzen.

The International Symposium on Fireworks Society Directors is Ettore Contestabile Chairman, Roger L. Schneider Vice President, Fred Wade Secretary-Treasurer, Bert von Rosen, Joseph A. Domanico, Guy R. Colona. International Advisors: Masamitsu Tamura, Alexander von Oertzen, and Julie L. Heckman.

Networking at the Symposium

Although there was a Trade Show it doesn't mean every company was in it promoting their products. Some companies chose to promote their products by networking with fellow Symposium attendees.

FireLinx a new wireless firing system that uses a very sexy hand held unit with touch screen to control the show. They presented a paper about wireless communications and for users to watch out for the "shadowing" effect that can occur with all wireless systems. This system was demonstrated with their 3rd generation prototype with a promise of a full working for sale system at PGI 2005 this August.

Blackboxx Fireworks Ltd. (Sino/German joint venture) demonstrated a new product called the Blackboxx System which was presented last year at the 2004 APA convention in Orlando, Florida. It is a cool new idea of snapping together HDPE mortars in a Cake configuration that allows reloading of effects without any connecting fuse, because they developed a brand new ignition technology which is easier, faster in preparing and safer in using. The shells are loaded in such a way that depending on the way you insert the shell it will cause a delay time between shots. Thus you can create a completely custom timed Cake item specific for each display! The Blackboxx system will stop shooting after an in tube explosion or it tips over. That's more safety and fun in using fireworks!

Grupo Luso Pirotechnia was at the Symposium promoting their line of fireworks. This group was formed in Portugal several years ago and have a website where customers can order their products. They are exporting to several countries now and have a full price list available. They presented this group at the 7th Symposium in Valencia, Spain then later promoted the group at the 2004 APA convention in Orlando, Florida. Products range from Indoor to Outdoor display products and typical Portuguese firework items as well as Confetti products.

Walker's International Adhesive Consultants a company from Denmark who were promoting their line of strong parallel paper wound tubes. The great feature of their tubes is the reduction of air bubbles that are created during the winding process thus increasing the strength of the tube.

La Rosa is a company from Italy who were handing out really good carry bags, hats, pens, and brochures. They are now celebrating their 60th anniversary in the fireworks industry and do displays around the world.

Pakkaus Piippo Packaging another company who are worldwide exporters of convolute tubes, paper cones and spiral-wound tubes. Also produce a major variety of fibre drums and special, custom-made packages.

Trade Show Report

This years Symposium included exhibitors from around the world, literally. China, Italy, Japan, USA, Canada, Estonia, Germany, and India. Firing Systems was the product mostly demonstrated which include (in no particular order) PyroMate, FireONE, PyroDigital, P.E.I.C.S., PyroMark, Pyroleda, and PyroDigit.

Suppliers / Manufacturers were also in majority at the Symposium and these include: Pyrotechnia Japan, Sri Kaliswari Fireworks, WANO Blackpowder, Jianhu Pyrotechnics, New Art Pyrotechhics, Golder Bear Fireworks (PyroFormex), RES Specialty Pyrotechnics, PyroPak, and Piro D'arte.

Pyrotechnica is a Japanese company who sells display services, PyroPak, flame projectors, various coloured flame effects, Gerb manufacturing machines, Magic Fire products, PyroDigital firing system, and Choreography software: Visual Show Director.

Visual Show Director is an upgrade from the Show Directory choreography software that is compatible with PyroDigital and other hardware. This new 3D simulation software was first presented at the 6th Symposium in Orlando, FL and is meant for the true professional whose career is in Choreographing displays. One of the major benefits of the software is the ability to conceive and script with real time visualization and to demonstrate how the display will look to a client including demonstrating upgrades that could be done to improve their show, raising the budget, and increasing profits.

Other great features include the ability to invent new shells or effects, rotate the camera angle 360 degrees around an imported 3D model set (bridge, landmark, etc.), Wind Simulation (how the wind at various speed will affect the display), Simulate spot lights, script TV camera cuts, and save choreographed sequences for use in other displays.

Price of the software was not disclosed but various leasing and renting options are available. Contact Infinity Visions for more information.

Goto a company in Japan were promoting their line of firework making tools and metal mortar tubes both in racks and available separately.

P.E.I.C.S "Pyrotechnics Electrical Ignition Control System" is a new firing system from ITM Co. LTD. in China. 15 years of development and experience. Using a PC to program both the auto sequence igntions and launching control software. The great thing about this system is the ability to detect where a communication wire has been cut and informs the operator. 12,750 maximum cues with 255 control modules and each slave controlling up to 50 cues each.

PyroDigit carries a full line of Firing Systems and introduced a new product called Ring Firing Rack and Multi Angle Firing Rack. Their products include wireless systems, sequencers, software, firing modules of various kinds, and SMPTE modems.

Fugetsu Co. LTD. Demonstrating a line of paper mortar caps made entirely out of pulp that is water proof. These ecologically sound products are great because they are lightweight and can be used to keep rain and sparks out of the mortar.

FireONE demonstrating an updated control unit "Master Module" which combines their 2 wire system with the old Cat 5 cable system and contains 8 control outputs. The Module records the entire show in it's memory so there is no more need to bring a laptop out to the field. This unit was designed for theatre installations with its black paint job and square construction. Simple to use and is meant for 'massive' displays.

They were demonstrating their new software programmed on a specialized Dell Pocket PC system where you are able to carry around this pocket sized computer which reports about your show. Great for continuity tests or making those last minute changes as you no longer need to bring a huge laptop to the display.

Another important upgrade FireONE has done is to download the entire cue list to each firing module connected to the rails. Now their system is able to fire all cues simultaneously across all modules. This new method is called UltraFire and is incorporated in all new modules. They have been implementing this design for the past 2 years in their modules. Contact them to see if your modules have the new electronics already and they will get your system upgraded.

Jianhu Pyrotechnics was exhibiting its line of Confetti products as well as its services as a supplier from East China and has an export capacity of 300,000 cartons of products with 2000 varieties. They develop at least 300 new products every year selling in USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Hong Kong. Exporting since 1989.

Pyroformex who were here representing their Golden Bear Fireworks brand did a fireworks demonstration earlier in the week. A company out of China they offer both Consumer 1.4G and Display 1.3G products.

Sekon Japan introduced a biodegradable plastic shell which passed the UN testing. Attendees who dropped by this booth were treated to a present of a miniature shell and hankerchief. The bioggradable shell is great for getting a nice break that a normal plastic shell gives and also the ecological performance of a paper shell.

New Art Pyrotechnics from Liuyang City, Hunan Province, China was demonstrating its ability to supply fireworks to the industry from around the world. They offer a full line of products which were going to be demonstrated but the shipment was delayed due to local problems not associated with the company.

PyroMate was demonstrating their digital wireless firing system, NightHawk, combining both automatic fire and manual it boasts to have the highest storage memory than all the other firing systems. The firing system is built with a simple to user interface and allows a user to download a shows cue list from the software. 7000 cues max and allows importing from ShowDirector, ScriptMaker, and soon PyroMotion Choreography software. They have an active splitter that is unique to them which prevents short circuits and faulty wires this splitter provides full protection.

They are to introduce a wireless time code modem compatible with any firing system. Also coming soon is a cost effective sequencer that receives a trigger and ignites items at a predetermined firing rate and can be linked to other sequencers to create a cascading effect. This item is to be released later this year.

Monetti SRL from Italy was demonstrating their latest firing system, Pyroleda FBC 300. A firing system that combines a friendly Master system with Colour LCD display, utilizing Windows CE programming (friendly and easy to use), a large knob/wheel that is used to select options, or use a regular USB computer mouse with a Keyboard. Program a script directly into the Master system or use Choreography software like PyroMotion to export a script. You can switch it into 3 modes of operations: Manual, Semi-Automatic, and Automatic. Audio In/Out for PyroMusicals and decodes SMPTE signals.

The Slave modules that this system uses is the Sequencer FSQ 200 which in itself is a fully operational sequencer module. Allowing 25 cues each and firing intervals of 0.03 to 999 seconds. There are 6 programming modes for various Sequencing outputs. You can daisy chain other Sequencers with this one.

Monetti was also advertising a new version of the PyroClock time fuse device which has one less part and they now "snap" together leaving a small space for the Quickmatch fuse. This device makes it quick and easy to do pyrotechnic chains and result in a overall savings of ignition costs.

Cock Brand Firework products are a line of consumer items from Sri Kaliswari Fireworks, Sivaksi India. These include fountains, Rockets, Firecrackers, wheels, and sparklers. They were looking for distributors from around the world to carry their unique items. Established in 1923 this company has gone through tough local regulations to keep their company alive and is proud to have a few of its products in USA.

RES Specialty Pyrotechnics demonstrating a new line of multi shot boards. These boards could be setup on an angle as they are built on a wood platform and can be mounted to anything using standard hardware. These boards allow for more consistency of timing in-between shots. Video of products will be available soon on their website. RES also contracts its services to do displays both indoor and outdoor as seen at the 2004 PGI convention.

PyroMark is a new firing system company from Estonia and have been in design since 1996 when the owners were looking for a simple robust system. This system is in its 3rd generation and comes in 3 levels, Basic for 400 cues, Advance 3200 Cues depending on memory, and Premium which boasts a practically unlimited cue count of 500,000 cues! The slaves or cue boxes are weather proof and are very light weight with 8 cues on each box. The battery is put in the chain at any point on the network of modules and main control system. There is no specific input or output so cables can be linked to each module multiple times for safe redundancy or to link to the battery box. They provide 2 types of cables depending on the users needs, more specifically the thicker cable works in -40 Celsius weather. The boxes have current and short circuit protection. Wireless is also available and they chose a universal format WIFI that is used in all wireless computers.

Luna Tech advertised the nitrocellulose low smoke line of Angel Fire products. Manufactured in vibrant red, blue, purple, yellow, green and white colors, 3 sizes of Gerbs, various intense flares, 2 sizes of mini mines and line rockets are currently offered. The product line continues to grow as the demand increases. Luna Tech manufactures also 3 different kinds of electric matches heads; the BGZD (Blue Green Zero Delay) which features no lead and is used widely for indoor products; Shocktube initiators; and Flash Match used for those harder to ignite compositions. All of these heads can be applied for custom speciality assemblies to a variety of leads and connectors.

Luna Tech also carries their OXRAL e-match which is made in Europe. For those who don't know OXRAL = Owens Cross Roads of Alabama.

Parente Fireworks demonstrating their firing system the Firemaster III Plus. It now allows for a PC to download all the cues to the main master. The Master now has music integration. This system will be compatible with most Choreography software in the next year. Firemaster has been tested and proven to be strong by running over it with a truck. Parente uses only Firemaster on all it's shows and have been around the world competing with it. At the Symposium they were part of the local fireworks festival and used about 20 of these modules to shoot the show, flawlessly.

Confetti China or Wuxi Yuedi Confetti Co. Ltd is a company demonstrating their full line of confetti products including the cannons, confetti streamers, and electrical confetti launchers.

Piro D'Arte is an Italian group comprising of Parente Fireworks, Carpayo Pirotechnia, Pirotecnia Lanci, FAS Fuchi Artificiali, Piroter SRL, and Pirotechnica Giuliani. This group promotes it's various companies in trade shows and sells or buys products around the world. The group was created 2 years ago in reaction to China's on going growth of exporting fireworks around the world with low costs. It is easier now to order a container of fireworks from the group as you don't have to dedicate it to any one company but rather a number of companies in the group.

The 9th International Symposium on Fireworks

We would encourage everyone to plan now to attend the 9th ISF which will be held in Berlin, Germany April 3-7, 2006. One important feature of this Symposium will be the release of the research work done under the European CHAF program, "Quantification and Control of the Hazards Associated with the Transport and Bulk Storage of Fireworks". This work is will impact on the fireworks industry around the world, therefore it is important for industry stakeholders to be in attendance to review this information firsthand. Keep informed by checking up on our website or the Symposium website at

Copyright 2005 Raytech Animation Inc.

You have permission to use any part or all of this article but must follow up with link to PyroPlanet ( is an internet gateway into the world of fireworks. Find more information about Conventions, Companies, and People in the industry on the website.

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