09 January 2019

Sony UK TEC – A Look Back at 2018

Royalty, landmark anniversaries, the FIFA World Cup, and three industry-leading product launches have made 2018 an “unforgettable year” for Welsh manufacturer Sony UK Technology Centre.

The Pencoed-based facility, which produces HD broadcast cameras and high definition 4K cameras for worldwide distribution, is celebrating a landmark year thanks to success across all areas of the business.

Over the past 12 months the award-winning facility has marked a number of milestones including its 25th anniversary at Pencoed, welcoming HRH the Duke of Kent, and shipping of cameras off to the FIFA World Cup.

Alongside this it has also launched the next generation of innovative 4K cameras, which will be manufactured and shipped directly from Pencoed.

To kickstart the year, the factory enjoyed a significant professional milestone when it was once again appointed as the sole technical supplier of camera equipment for the FIFA World Cup, testing and preparing over 4,000 pieces of broadcast camera equipment to be shipped to the event in Russia.

Then in March the facility become the only site worldwide to produce the latest Raspberry Pi 3B+ computer. Sony UK TEC was selected to manufacture the new model, after previously producing over 10 million of the original Raspberry Pi computers in 2017.

In June another landmark moment saw Sony UK TEC welcome HRH the Duke of Kent for a tour of the facility, during which he learned more about the site’s manufacturing operation, spoke with engineers and manufacturing professionals who produce the brand’s high definition and 4K broadcast cameras.

In August, Sony’s charitable team players swapped the factory for the road as they took part in an epic 300-mile coast-to-coast cycle in aid of the Princess of Wales Hospital, which raised over £5,500 for the children’s ward, contributing to the £100,000 raised in total so far. Later in the year they also held a special golf tournament at the Celtic Manor raising thousands for the children’s ward.

However, the highlight of Sony UK TEC’s year came in September when staff from across the Welsh manufacturing facility came together to celebrate the site’s landmark 25th anniversary. To mark the milestone, it was revealed that manufacturing output had soared to over 6.4 million products annually for the first time, leaping from 20,000 units in 2005/06.

This significant increase was driven by ongoing success across both the facility’s core Sony UK TEC manufacturing operation, along with its innovative third-party Contract Manufacturing business. This success also contributed to the Pencoed site’s record sales over the past 12 years, with the site achieving 30% year-on-year growth since 2016.

Rounding off the year, the facility unveiled its new Sony Refurbished business in October, enabling customers to acquire the latest in high-specification HD equipment for a reduced price. As part of this customers can hand back their used equipment and receive a discount towards purchasing the latest 4K cameras.

Finally, last month the factory was chosen to manufacture the sensor technology behind the innovative office solution Nimway, as part of Sony ’s Seed Acceleration Program (SAP). Nimway’s technology, which utilises Sony's wireless occupancy sensors, will be produced at the Welsh manufacturing facility due to its world-class facilities and skilled team.

During the year the manufacturing facility also recorded a 12-year record high for its staff headcount with numbers surpassing 600, which increased thanks to the addition of numerous skilled graduates and apprentices.

Director of professional services Gerald Kelly said 2018 had “far exceeded expectations”.

He said: “The entire staff here at Sony UK TEC are absolutely blown away with the success we have experienced across all areas of the business this year.

“This has undoubtedly been a year to remember thanks to a number of manufacturing, business, and staff milestones, which everyone has come together to celebrate.

“Not only have we lead the way in manufacturing progression by launching two more innovative 4K models, we were also proud to ship these industry leading products off to one of the most prestigious sporting tournaments in the world yet again, which we feel is a testament to the dedication of our staff and the manufacturing capabilities of our state-of-the-art factory.

“We feel incredibly privileged to have seen such fantastic business growth and success once again, reaching record sales over the past 12 years along with a record headcount.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us, and we look forward to see what 2019 brings.”

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