Sony (UK Tec) Tune In for Success

6th Sep 2012

- Sony UK Technology Centre (UKTec), world-leading manufacturer of professional and broadcast camera systems, has secured a multi-million pound third-party manufacturing deal to build a mini-computer called Raspberry Pi.

The deal will see the Pencoed-based business manufacture over 300,000 units of the mini-computer Raspberry Pi for Premier Farnell, a multi-channel electronic distributor which has been selling the innovative device since February this year. The product which has been developed by non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, is a credit-card sized computer, designed to stimulate young people’s interest in computer programming and electronics.

Utilising Sony UK Technology Centre’s lean manufacturing techniques the site will be producing tens of thousands of computers per month and the contract is expected to create up to 30 additional jobs.

Mike Buffham, Global Head of EDE at Premier Farnell commented: “When it came to reviewing our manufacturing strategy we were always keen to bring the production of the Raspberry Pi to the UK. From the outset, Sony UK Technology Centre demonstrated their enthusiasm for the product as well as their expertise in manufacturing. Their site is highly impressive and I am confident that the team in Wales can deliver, providing us with a high-quality product, within our designated timeframe, all within budget. The Sony brand is known for its quality, and to have its broadcast manufacturing site on board and building the Raspberry Pi product, within the UK, is very exciting.

“Since the Raspberry Pi was launched in February 2012 it’s been a tremendous success story. The younger generation has been fascinated to learn how to build and programme their own computer device. As such we have had huge interest from educational institutions in purchasing the product, innovative design engineers who are using the computer for exciting new applications and also the general public.”

In the assembly of the Raspberry Pi, the site will invest in additional equipment to fulfil the order requirements, providing flexibility and scalability should demand increase. The additional equipment will also ensure that its main area of business – the manufacture of broadcast and professional camera systems - is unaffected by the new contract. This will include additional automated circuit board equipment and double-side reflow machinery. Furthermore, the site will be extending its manufacturing process capability to include a technique called package-on-package (PoP). The POP process allows the processor and memory to be stacked on top of each other, reducing the PCB footprint and the distance that high-speed signals need to travel, improving overall reliability.

Steve Dalton OBE, Managing Director of Sony UK Technology Centre, stated; “We are now in our 20th year at the Pencoed site and we have had to diversify our service offerings to ensure the site’s sustainability. As an organisation we are continually committed to developing the site’s offering this is shown from our diverse product portfolio through to the investment we make in machinery and the development of the processes we use. By working with innovative companies, like Premier Farnell, we are able to extend our manufacturing services offering for existing and potential customers. We are also able to demonstrate our manufacturing capabilities, delivering high-quality technology products for UK companies.

“Furthermore, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, encompasses our view on developing young people’s knowledge of the technology industry. Organisations like this one help build the technologists of our future by inspiring the next generation.

“Having been shortlisted as a finalist for the British Factory Awards, we’ve seen at firsthand how the UK manufacturing industry is evolving. We have always been able to produce reliable and high-quality products, however the cost of production has previously been far greater than our overseas competitors. Today, we are now able to offer a competitive price point and the latest manufacturing techniques, which in some cases surpass our foreign competitors’ capabilities. This is great news as it encourages UK companies to source local manufacturers, which in turn encourages investment into the industry for new equipment and employment and helps grow the UK economy.”

Eben Upton, inventor of Raspberry Pi, commented, “When Pete Lomas and I built the first Raspberry Pis for testing last year, we never dreamed it would become so popular so quickly. The Raspberry Pi was built to develop young people’s skills in computer programming and electronic engineering; we had always intended and hoped that the Raspberry Pi would also be manufactured within the UK. We’re really delighted that Premier Farnell has been able to find such a reliable manufacturer as the Sony UK Technology Centre. By bringing the production of a UK product back into the country alongside its development and distribution, we can help support our economy and demonstrate the capabilities the UK has in terms of technological innovation, invention, and manufacturing.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Premier Farnell and now, the Sony UK Technology Centre, in the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s next stage of growth.”

About Sony UK Technology Centre

Sony UK Technology Centre is a division of Sony Europe Limited.

Headed up by Steve Dalton OBE, - Institute of Directors, Director of the Year, South Wales winner - the Sony UK Technology Centre is the manufacturing and customer service centre for Sony in the UK and houses 22 related start-up companies.

Opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1992, the Sony UK Technology Centre is a 30,000 m² building based in Pencoed, Bridgend.

The Sony UK Technology Centre has developed a reputation for manufacturing excellence, which has been recognised through the receipt of four Queen’s Awards for Export, as well as the Queen’s Award for the Environment. The centre is certified to both ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment) and is a previous winner of the British Quality Award.

The Sony UK Technology Centre is a socially aware business that seeks to minimise its impact on the environment, supports its local community through charity work and sponsorship, and has the welfare of its staff at the heart of its operation.

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About Premier Farnell

Premier Farnell plc (LSE:pfl) is a global leader in high service distribution of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair. Its differentiated proposition includes 29 local language transactional websites, and the critically important element14 Community for design engineers – an industry first ( With sales last year of £973.1m and underlying profits of £104.6m the Group distributes its comprehensive portfolio of products and services throughout Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, supported by a global supply chain and an inventory profile developed to anticipate and meet its customers’ needs.

About The Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation based in Cambridge, designing computers which are so cheap you can buy one with your pocket money, and are so small you can carry one around in the same pocket.