All too often, manufacturers create one fireworks device that is also suitable for many other effects or sizes. Indeed, series applications fall into one of two categories: (i) shell effects and (ii) shell dimension. PHMSA acknowledges that the hazardous properties of certain fireworks devices may be identical, and it also recognizes that the current policy (of requiring separate applications for each and every device in a series) is unproductive and creates paperwork. To its credit, PHMSA now tries to establish a cogent and concise set of rules regarding approval of fireworks series in its recent release; Federal Register, vol 78, No. 191, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013.
PHMSA will now accept fireworks series applications that comply with the basic requirements of APA Standard 87-1 and the conditions of the new policy, including: (1) the categories of fireworks that may qualify for approval as a series fireworks is expressly limited; (2) any approval will be limited to one category of device and one hazard classification—for example, Roman Candle, Division 1.4G; (3) a series application may only be submitted for approval as either (a) an ‘Effects Series’ or (b) ‘Dimensional Series’; the combination application is expressly prohibited; and (4) each and every device in the series (covered in the application) must undergo the thermal stability test.
PHMSA has additional guidelines for all ‘effect series’ application, as well as for all ‘dimensional series’ applications. For ‘effect series’, the devices must remain the same size and have the same maximum pyrotechnic powder weight—for example, a series of 6, 8” display shells, each with a unique effect. The components must also remain unchanged for each shell, although this is sensible in light of the fact that the shell size remains unchanged (so, too, should its core components). PHMSA also expects that number and weight of any and all reports/salutes shall remain constant throughout the series. For ‘dimensional series’, the application should demonstrate that the only significant change is an increase in shell diameter, or in tube diameter, or increasing the number of tubes in the device. All other things remain constant; for instance, the effects produced remain constant, and tube separation distances remain unchanged. If salutes/reports are used in one device, than the same number and type is to be found in all other members of the series (with weight and number of report/salutes varying according to shell dimension).
While it is both commendable and highly helpful, PHMSA’s efforts provides no guidance for those manufacturers desiring to combine ‘effects series’ with ‘dimensional series’, an approach that is prohibited under the current guidelines. By reason of the PHMSA lack of guidance, it suggests that any hybrid would have to undergo two separate application pathways: one for approval of the ‘effects series’ and another for the ‘dimensional series’ aspect of the finished device.