Looking back at Sony UK TEC’s milestones over 25 years
From digital set top boxes to 4k cameras– Sony UK Technology Centre has manufactured them all.
The Pencoed-based manufacturing facility has been at the forefront of cutting-edge technology in Wales for the past 25 years this year.
Along the way it has received over 20 awards recognising its innovative operation, welcomed numerous members of the Royal family, and marked quite a few manufacturing milestones along the way!
To celebrate this landmark anniversary, we take a look back at Sony UK TEC’s most memorable moments from the past 25 years…
Officially opened by HRH the Queen
The Pencoed site was officially launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 14th October in 1993.
The site was originally opened in a bid to fulfil an increasing demand for its Trinitron TVs which were being supplied to Europe. However, it quickly became the largest producer of colour TV's and included a Sony design centre.
Shift from analogue to digital begins
One year on from its official launch, Sony UK TEC began ushering in an exciting new era of technology.
In 1994 the facility began moving away from the production of analogue technology to focus on more advanced digital technology, setting it apart as an innovator in the industry.
During this year the site also began producing professional video monitors for customers worldwide.
Broadcast camera production begins
In 2000 the site began manufacturing its world-renowned broadcast cameras.
The manufacturing of its broadcast and professional camera, and camera systems, officially started, with the operations going on to become Sony’s core manufacturing business with thousands of cameras shipped around the world over the next 18 years.
During the same year the facility also launched its now highly successful UK Customer Service Centre which supports customers across UK and Europe, handling consumer and professional products both in and out of warranty.
Manufacturing for others and supporting local businesses
By 2006 Sony UK TEC began diversifying its offering and exploring how it could use its expertise to aid others.
As a result, it launched its Collaborative Manufacturing Solutions Operation, offering third-party manufacturing support to businesses across the UK and Europe.
During this period, they also began establishing their on-site Business Incubation Centre, which offers a home to innovative businesses across Wales.
An award-winning year
This proved to be an award-winning year for the Pencoed facility.
The factory claimed not one, but three, coveted awards including the Wales Government Business and Sustainability Award, the Technology prize at the Wales Technology Awards, and the Sony Europe Helios Award for Energy Management Best Practice and Energy Efficiency.
Hello Raspberry Pi!
In 2012 Sony UK TEC took a step into the world of computer coding by becoming the manufacturer the world-renowned Raspberry Pi.
By the following year the factory’s dedicated team celebrated manufacturing one million of the credit card sized computers, with the factory reaching its five million milestone in 2015 and 10 million in 2017.
Britain’s Best Factory
In 2013 Sony UK TEC was crowned Britain's Best Factory at the Cranfield University’s Best Factory Awards. The facility was also awarded Best Electronics & Electrical Plant, and received the Innovation Award.
Lights, camera, action!
During 2016 Sony UK TEC launched its in-house Ffilm Factory 35, utilising the factory’s unique facilities.
The studio, which offered access to a range of facilities including a cinema room for screening, and on-site post-production, has welcomed Doctor Who, historical drama Will, Decline and Fall starring Eva Longoria, and more recently Keeping Faith.
Sony 4K technology rolls off the UK TEC production line in UK first
In 2017 Sony UK TEC began the manufacture of world-class 4K cameras, the HDC-4300, labelled the “next generation” in broadcast technology. This marked the first time this Sony technology has been manufactured outside of Japan, showing confidence in UK TEC's skilled workforce and the factory’s ability to produce high-end, quality, products for worldwide distribution.
Focus on the next generation manufacturing
Also in 2017 Sony UK TEC spearheaded a landmark research centre helping, to identify ground-breaking manufacturing processes of the future.
The Pencoed-based facility launched the Advanced Manufacturing Research Operations Centre (AMROC) in a collaborative partnership with Sony Global Manufacturing & Operations Corporation in Japan.
The project will enable Sony UK TEC to tackle the challenges of modern manufacturing and improve processes by using the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
Production rapidly grew with numbers reaching five million in just two years and now, at peak capacity Sony UK TEC can make up to 100,000 Pis per week.
A Royal Visitor
In 2018 HRH the Duke of Kent visited the facility to find out more about the site’s manufacturing operation and its work supporting digital literacy among school children in Wales.
The visit comes almost 30 years after the Duke originally visited Sony UK TEC’s first manufacturing site in Bridgend in 1990.
25th anniversary celebrations
In 2018 Sony UK TEC is marking its 25th year of manufacturing at the Pencoed site. The factory’s dedicated team of more than 600 staff came together to celebrate the milestone in September.