Sony to make Raspberry Pi computer in Wales

Posted on 7 Sep 2012 by Jane Gray
Raspberry Pi, IT, computer programming, PCB
Raspberry Pi distributor Premier Farnell was previously unable to find a UK manufacturer which could make its product in volume at the necessary price point. A new deal with Sony will now change that. Image courtesy of Mike Cogh.

The bare-bones computer which hit headlines when it launched earlier this year is to be produced at the Sony Technology Centre in Pencoed, Wales.

The Raspberry Pi, a credit card sized bare-bones computer, designed to encourage interest in computer programming, was hailed as an education innovation when it launched in February this year.

The product is UK-designed but has previously been manufactured in China.

It was revealed yesterday however, that a new deal between Raspberry Pi distributor, Premier Farnell, and Sony will see more than 300,000 units of the product manufactured in Wales at the Sony UK Technology Centre site in Pencoed.

The deal will create 30 new jobs.

Premier Farnell director Mike Buffham said he was delighted to have found a UK site to produce the device.

“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,” he said.

Hitting this budget had previously been a barrier to UK production. The Raspberry Pi retails at just £16, a price tag essential to its mission to provide children with access to low cost computer programming tools.

This mission is having great success according to Mr Buffham who commented, “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.”

The ethos behind the Rapberry Pi was key in driving Sony’s bid to produce it. Steve Dalton, managing director of Sony UK Technology Centre, said, “The Raspberry Pi Foundation [who originally designed the device], 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.”

Mr Dalton said that Sony’s ability to use high tech manufacturing to meet the necessary production price point for the Raspberry Pi was “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.”

Winning the deal to manufacture the Raspberry Pi will see Sony invest in new equipment.