They’re Not MIBs – They’re SIBs (Single Ignition Barrages)

‘Single Ignition Barrage’ beautifully describes what the firework is and does. Light one fuse and then watch as the barrage unfolds.

Historically there has not been a tradition of making fireworks in this way in the United Kingdom. The tradition was for roman candles; however, legislation was introduced to limit the powder content of single roman candles. Barrages overcame this restriction. The first such barrages came in from China some 20 years ago. They were mostly circular, so soon picked up the generic name ‘cake’ and despite now being various shapes and sizes they are still widely known as such. The firework industry may call them cakes but the authorities have a different term. Their term is shot tube battery. That, in essence, is what they are. Manufacturers took the principle of the shot from a roman candle and made them into single shots loaded into interlinked tubes. It is possible to manufacture fuses that have different burning speeds so the batteries can be made to quite specific time tolerances and give the product designer an infinite combination of effects and firing patterns.

If you look at our product pages for Single Ignition Barrages you will see from the descriptions that they can fire in several ways - vertically, in a fan all at once, or in a sweeper style from left to right and vice versa. The effects that can be loaded range from coloured comets or mines of stars for low noise or they may fire a unit into the air which has a delay and when it reaches its zenith the delay flashes through and ignites the burst and the stars inside which then fill the sky with colour. These units are called bombettes. In some cases, barrages can fire noise whistle units too.

Construction drawing of a single ignition barrage bombette

In the pictures below there are a couple of skeleton barrages which show two different possible firing patterns.

Skeleton of a 36 Shot Single Ignition Barrage

A vertical firing 36 shot barrage.

Skeleton of a compound single ignition barrage

Skeleton of a compound single ignition barrage

The above two photographs show a mixed firing pattern barrage. You can see a variety of fan formations as well as a vertical section. This photograph is a good illustration of the endless possibilities that a firework barrage designer has available. The skill is in combining these patterns with the right combination of effects to give a pleasing display when fired.

(Photographs courtesy of Pyroshine Fireworks, Luiyang.)

Compound Barrages

There are regulations that govern the powder weight of individual barrages according to their Hazard Class (1.4G or 1.3G), therefore manufacturers have developed compound cakes to continue making large batteries. Compounds consist of two or more barrages joined together with an interlinking fuse. They can be all vertical firing or a mixture of patterns. For example, it may start with a straight up barrage, moving on to a fan, then a sweeper before finishing with a fast firing vertical finale barrage.

Reference source: Rev. R Lancaster MBE, Fireworks, Principles and Practice, 4th Edition, ISBN 0-8206-0407-0