01 October 2015

Sony Celebrates Five Million Pi’s Baked in Wales

Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC), manufacturer of professional and broadcast camera systems, has announced it has made five million Raspberry Pi’s in Wales.

To celebrate the milestone, Sony UKTEC welcomed Jo Johnston MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science for UK Government, Jonathan Hardie, Global Head of Manufacturing from leading manufacturer and distributor element14 and Phillip Colligan and Eben Upton from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. 

The guests were welcomed by the site’s Managing Director, Steve Dalton OBE and taken on a tour of the 30,000 m2 state-of-the-art facility. The individuals were shown the site’s cutting-edge and lean manufacturing techniques and how production of the credit-card sized computer has grown from strength to strength, since securing the multi-million pound third-party manufacturing deal three years ago.

Originally the Pencoed-based business was contracted to make 300,000 units for element 14.  However, as demand for the Raspberry Pi has grown exponentially Sony UKTEC is now producing the Pi for the only two world-wide distributors, element14 and RS Components.

During the three year relationship the site has made five different models of the Pi, has increased its production from 10,000 units per week to 80,000 units.  Furthermore, this rapid increase has seen the site employ an additional 70 individuals to cope with the level of demand, which is anticipated to rise to 100 by the end of the year.

Claire Doyle, Global Head of Raspberry Pi at element14, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to make such a success of the Raspberry Pi’s UK manufacture.  Working with Sony’s UK Technology Centre team in Pencoed has been an easy decision from the start. By making Raspberry Pi in Wales we’re able to ensure great quality and exceptionally competitive pricing, and have been able to benefit from a really great business relationship.”

Eben Upton, Co-Founder of The Raspberry Pi said: “Raspberry Pi is a British product, created by British engineers, that has found a huge global market. Working with SONY is great for us: communication and negotiation with our distributors and the team at the factory is easy; and proximity to our headquarters means that if we need to be on-site it’s just a car drive away.

“South Wales has a long tradition of manufacturing, and we are very pleased that the success of Raspberry Pi has secured new, skilled jobs in the area. Global success can be transformative within local communities, and we’re proud to be part of that here in Pencoed.”

Steve Dalton OBE, Managing Director of Sony UK Technology Centre commented: “The Raspberry Pi, is a fantastic example of UK innovation, design and engineering, at its best.  In three years, the Raspberry Pi has taken the world by storm.  It has inspired older and younger generations to have an interest and develop much needed skills in computer programming and electronics.  It’s amazing to see some of the inventions people have been able to create with this unassuming, easy to use and low cost product. 

“For us, it’s been a pleasure working with element14, RS Components and the Foundation and it really has pushed the status quo in UK manufacturing.   From the day the product launched we knew the Raspberry Pi would be a success and we wanted to be part of it.  It’s fantastic to see what has been achieved in such a short space in time and how it has acted as a significant milestone in the UK manufacturing industry.

 “The Raspberry Pi is testament that if you have the right product, manufacturer, distribution channels and customer demand any idea can be a huge success.  We look forward to continuing our work with the distributors and The Foundation.”

The product which has been developed by non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, is designed to stimulate young people’s interest in computer programming and electronics, but it has been hugely popular with hobbyists and developers. 

Sony UKTEC presented The Raspberry Pi Foundation and element 14 with a Pi in a platinum case to mark the achievement. 


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