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The development of “Made in Vietnam” fireworks

The Z121 Factory had a “predestined relationship” with producing fireworks right after the Liberation of the South on Reunification Day in 1975. To celebrate this historic victory, at the same time celebrate the 30th anniversary of the National Day (September 2nd 1945 – September 2nd 1975) and inauguration of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Z121 Factory was assigned a plan to produce 1,000 fireworks. While the factory was researching to find the way to produce, it was delivered to restore 1,000 fireworks from foreign aid but expired date and very poor quality were being kept by the Capital’s Military Region. After 2 months of restoration, the factory has handed over 1,000 fireworks on schedule for the events. A smooth start has helped Z121 Factory have valuable experience in organizing fireworks production in the future.

Bước phát triển của pháo hoa “Made in Vietnam”
Fireworks – Explosive production line at the Z121 Factory

In the following years, with the desire to continue researching to be the master of the fireworks production technology, Z121 Factory has actively tested and produced nearly 20 samples of fireworks, with thousands of units serving many events in 1984, 1985. In particular, in 1985, fireworks were “exported” by Z121 Factory to Laos and were shot off in Vientiane, Xiang Kuang, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Pakse, Sam Neua on the 10th anniversary of the liberation of the three peoples of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from foreign forces.

The above successes motivate the Factory to make the determination to make fireworks be one of the economic products that need to be developed and seek new production technologies with more stable and safe quality. In 1997, after a trip to learn about the production of fireworks in Japan, the factory focused on investing in building a system of factories and started to test fireworks products according to Japanese technology. Just nearly a year later, the factory exported the first batch of fireworks to Japan itself. This event has opened a new direction for the Factory, bringing fireworks with the brand “Made in Vietnam” to the international market.

Also from here, along with the production of pyrotechnics: pyrotechnic ignition devices, fireworks of the Z121 Factory was licensed by the Government to produce, serving domestic entertainment and export needs. From 2009 up to now, with the socio-economic development, the demand for fireworks to serve people in localities in the country has constantly increased, the Z121 factory has also bravely invested in and improved productivity to meet the domestic demand and join the international fireworks supply chain. The factory has organized to produce 182,350 low-altitude fireworks, 1,641,560 high-altitude fireworks, 700,000 theatrical fire tubes with a total value of about VND700 billion, meeting the needs of domestic consumption and export to Japan, America. In which, Factory supplied the domestic market with 137,469 high-altitude fireworks, 262,186 low-altitude fireworks, 230 sets of detonators with a total of 2,903 shots; exported 1,552,560 high-altitude fireworks, 2,550 low-altitude fireworks and 6,135 accessory boxes, worth VND338.8 billion. Fireworks of the Z121 Factory are assessed to be equivalent to the Japanese fireworks by a foreign partner.

In order to further improve the quality of fireworks produced by Vietnam, in 2014, Z121 Factory was approved by the Ministry of National Defence to invest in a new fireworks production line. Lines are designed and built according to European standards and developed countries in the world; the workshop is equipped with equipment and facilities to ensure safety against fire and explosion. The production line has been checked and put into operation since 4/2016 with a capacity of more than 300,000 high-altitude fireworks, 30,000 low-altitude fireworks and 10,000 theatrical fire tubes of all kinds per year. To exploit the line effectively, Z121 Factory pays special attention to human resources training. During the construction line, the Z121 Factory sent fireworks technicians to Japan and France to learn new technologies, and the partners also regularly sent experts to the Factory to directly guide and transfer technology. For workers directly working on the production line, it is compulsory to participate in training courses, technical exams meeting the requirements before putting them to work on the line. Another very important factor determining product quality is the source of materials for production. The materials for fireworks production are actively purchased by Z121 Factory from reliable domestic sources or imported some special Japanese materials. The good assurance of factors for production has created diverse fireworks products with good designs and quality, occupying the domestic market and exporting, including fastidious customers like Japan.

Bước phát triển của pháo hoa “Made in Vietnam”
Fireworks to celebrate National Day 2/9 in Ho Chi Minh City

Not only improving the quality of fireworks to a new level, the firing technology is also researched and developed by Z121 Factory. Over time, the enjoyment of the viewer is also more demanding, the fireworks performances become more and more attractive, unique and highly artistic when combined with the show and rhythm effects of sound, light, laser … In tune with the general development of the world, Z121 Factory’s fireworks display technology is also regularly updated. Previously, the fireworks display technology was completely manual method, like how to fire mortar bullets, ignite bait and then drop the cannon into the launcher, the fireworks would launch into the air; currently, each cannon is mounted on a launcher, fired by a remote controlled electric ignition so it is safer. In 2001, the Z121 factory built a set of semi-automatic firing equipment L100 and upgraded it to a set of L100T (2017), L100S (in 2019). In addition, in 2003, the factory cooperated with the Institute of Arms (under the General Department of Defence Industry) to research and manufacture successfully LTE automatic fireworks to meet the requirements of large-scale, complex fire. The general trend of countries around the world not only watching fireworks in the usual way but requiring more is to enjoy the unique, diversity and attractive fireworks performance with the form of shooting combining many strains. types of fireworks, such as high altitude, low range and firebending fireworks; program on automatic shooting equipment, combine music with laser projection images, 3D mapping, lighting … to create colour effects, sound, and multi-dimensional images. Acquiring and learning the performing technology of other countries, Z121 Factory actively researches and applies the method of performing art fireworks, uses automatic detonator, and builds into a coordinated firework scenario with sound and light to create powerful, artistic effects.

In order to ensure safety and public order during demonstration shooting in localities, Z121 Factory also undertakes training firework techniques for military headquarters of provinces and cities. In 2016, the unit organized a technical training course on fireworks display for the entire army in Military Region 2 with the participation of 63 provinces and cities nationwide. In addition, the Factory also organizes training according to the needs of the units; coordinate with the Transport Division (General Logistical Department) in transporting fireworks to the fireplaces safely, according to regulations, on schedule … meeting the demand for fireworks in the country and for export.

Bước phát triển của pháo hoa “Made in Vietnam”
Drying the fireworks

Fireworks are public products that serve the general needs of the whole society that CNQP industry, directly Z121 Factory, needs to maintain and develop. However, this is a potentially high fire and explosion product, so fireworks need to be strictly managed from production, storage, preservation, transportation, use and destruction; closely linking production technology with the safety of both people, technical facilities and the environment. It is necessary to regularly strengthen the leadership, direction, inspection, supervision, and the responsibility of the agency to the unit, determined not to let unsafety in all activities related to fireworks. In particular, Decree No. 36/2009 / NĐ-CP, April 15, 2009 of the Government on the management and use of firecrackers and fireworks and related legal documents after 10 years of implementation, have revealed a number of shortcomings, which need to be amended and supplemented to meet the requirements of firework management and use, in accordance with socio-economic conditions and in sync with current policies and mechanisms. Currently, state management agencies are implementing a roadmap to review Decree No. 36/2009 / NĐ-CP and building new legal documents to replace. In this process, the General Department of Defence Industry and Z121 Factory need to follow the actual production activities and specificity of fireworks to propose regulations to address some shortcomings and problems, such as: specific regulations more on state management functions and decentralized management of ministries and branches in activities of production, export, import, purchase, sale, transportation, preservation and use of fireworks; specifying conditions for business investment in fireworks; administrative procedures for licensing the transport, import and export of fireworks; complete and accurate definition of firecrackers and fireworks; consider expanding cases of low-altitude, high-altitude fireworks, time of fire and length of fire for localities; allowing a number of provinces and big cities, large enterprise organizations (corporations, corporations …) to be fired with fireworks in holidays and celebrations; consider assigning the People’s Committees of provinces and cities directly under the Central Government to license low-altitude fireworks during festivals; in particular, it is proposed to add entertainment fireworks that do not cause explosions and have specific regulations allowing people to use them during national holidays and Tet.

With human resources and existing equipment and facilities, along with a favorable legal corridor, it is hoped that in the coming time, the fireworks products of Z121 Factory will continue to conquer viewers with the programs. Fireworks are rich in artistry, modernity and go further in export, contributing to the sustainable growth of Z121 Factory.

Major, MSc. CAO VAN KHANH. Production Management Manager-General Department of Defence Industry

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