Safety Matches & its evolution

Here I want to be sharing that how to match stick work in simple strike and its history.

How it works ?
Typically made of wood or paper, a match is used to start a fire under controlled situations. The match heads contain sulfur(s), potassium chlorate(KClO3) with powdered glass(silica), colorants, fillers, and a binder made of glue and starch. The striking surface consists of powdered glass or silica (sand), red phosphorus, binder, and filler. When hit a safety match, the glass-on-glass scraping makes high temperature upon friction to initiate the reaction between excess red phosphorus and potassium chlorate (KClO3). A little amount of red phosphorus is change as to white phosphorus vapour (P4), White phosphorus spontaneously ignites.
Decomposing potassium chlorate and release oxygen. At this point, the sulfur starts to burn, which ignites the wood of the match.
History of Safety Matches :
In 1669, phosphorous was discovered by Hennig Brand – phosphorous was soon used in match heads.
British physicist Robert Boyle in 1680 coated coarse paper in phosphorous, and a splinter of wood in sulphur. When the wood was drawn through the folded paper, it burst into flames. Due to the scarcity of phosphorous, this invention was little more than an expensive novelty for the rich.
In 1817 a French chemist created what he called “the Ethereal Match,” a piece of paper coated with a compound of phosphorous that ignited when exposed to air. The paper was vac uum-sealed in a glass tube called the “match,” which was ignited when the tube was smashed.
In 1827, John Walker, English chemist and apothecary, discovered that if he coated the end of a stick with certain chemicals and let them dry, he could start a fire by scraping the stick anywhere. These were the first friction matches. The chemicals he used were antimony sulfide, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch. Walker did not patent his “Congreves” as he called the matches. His first sale of the matches was on April 7, 1827, to a Mr. Hixon, a solicitor in the town.Unfortunately, white phosphorus is deadly if consume in large quantities and suicides and accidental death by eating matches became repeated . The problem was unravel when in 1850 it was discovered that heating white phosphorus at 250 degree Celsius produces a reddish inert material known as red phosphorus. This definitely made a safer alternative to makes matches, but The real leap in terms of safety came when in 1859 the active ingredients were separated between the head of the match and a special striking strip. This is the design still in use today.
Safety Matches Industry in India:
Current Safety Matches in India accounts for about 3000 Crore. About 10% of the volume goes for exports. Major region of Exports is Africa, Latin America which accounts for 80% of the Exports. Safety Matches is mostly used in House hold for lighting Stoves, Lighting Candles, Lighting Kuthuvizhaku. Also its used by Smokers for lighting Cigarettes. Safety Match Industry in India was dominated by West India Match Company which has its head Quarters at Calcutta and which was later bought by ITC limited.
The hand made matches came into Existence in late 1950s and the Industry was dominated by Sivakasi, Kovilpatti and Sattur since then. About 80% of total manufacturing of safety Matches come from this region. Currently the manufacturing process has converted into Mechanized even in this region.
Safety Matches sells along with other FMCG products and tobacco products. The Value chain is large and its mostly positioned towards retailers. There are lot of brands originating from these regions and now the brand attribute is pegged towards the lowest price. The industry is moving towards private labeling and supply.
The Export market is dominated by Exporters and Consistently catered by Manufacturers. About 156 companies exports matches and export and Manufacturers is in 1.5 : 1 ratio. Apex gives the advantage of both exporters and manufacturer since its promoted by 6 manufacturer and operates as a marketing company. Apex aims to become a top Private label supplier in Africa.
All the efforts are being focussed towards positioning apex on the top of the chart.
The Major challenges is the growth of Inconsistent importers or general importers who imports matches as an opportunity and they trash the market with low price and push the consistent players behind
  1. Provide customised products which is build with customer requirement and their needs.
  2. They have the top in the class customer service and delivery service and their communication is one of the best in the lot of Exporters and
  3. Consistency in quality and raw material used to ensure what is needed by customer and what is needed for them

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