Raspberry Pi production back in Blighty
South Wales jobs boost
The Raspberry Pi is to be manufactured in the UK - possibly the first time a microcomputer has been produced here, as opposed to simply being assembled, for a number of decades.
Production has begun in Sony's Pencoed, South Wales plant on behalf of the Raspberry Pi's sales partner, Element14/Premier Farnell.
The initial contract will see the Pencoed plant producing 30,000 Revision 2.0 Raspberry Pis a month, creating around 30 new jobs in the process.
RS, Raspberry Pi's other supplier, will continue to source hardware in China. Farnell, by the sounds of it, has Rev 1 China-sourced stocks to burn through too.
Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton originally wanted to source the Pi in Britain, the organisation says, but was "unable to find a British manufacturer whose prices per unit - especially at a point where we were thinking of sales in the tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands you’re seeing now - would work for us". Production duly went to the Far East.
However, Upton was nonetheless keen to bring manufacturing back, and has spent the last five months or so establishing the deal between Sony and Premier Farnell.
Sony has "already invested £50,000 in PoP - Package on Package, the fiddly stuff where the Broadcom chip at the heart of the Raspberry Pi is stacked beneath the Ram chip - hardware and expansion capability just for us", said the Raspberry Pi Foundation today.
For the eco-minded, "they’re also able to take on the huge task - currently undertaken by RS and Farnell - of ensuring the parts used are sourced ethically and to the highest ecological standards. Every component has to pass standard compliance via Sony’s Green Management programme".
"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," said Upton.
Look for the words “Made in the UK” on the board. ®
Not since the ZX Spectrum :)
*waves union jack*
Good news, but why does it have to be Sony? What happened to all the British manufacturers?
I expect somebody will blame the workers, if they ever notice this. Funny how well British manufacturing industry does when the people at the top of the corporation aren't British.
Re: Only really the board though surely?
And even if they DID get all the components made in the UK, I'm betting they'll have to mine the materials elsewhere! And would you believe it - the oil used to produce the plastics in it was pumped out of FOREIGN SOIL! Made in the UK, indeed! Ha!
Get over it
My Rover 400 (bubble) did not rust significantly in it's 15 years of use (I pranged it on ice), and my Dad's 75 still looked pristine after 8 years when he sold it. It's the BL years that were the worst, and I am quite surprised to see anything on the roads from that era nowadays.
I work in the sub-contract electronics industry. If the board has been designed correctly for automatic component placement.insertion, then the machine costs are similar to that of the UK. If there is a fair bit of manual insertion/placement, China can be up to 40% cheaper. We design these days to eliminate as much human input as possible. In that way we can compete with China. The Philippines has an equally low labour as China, and many Japanese companies assembly there. Here is an example of labour costs taken as an assessment for the building of new plant to build mechanical items (High labour content)
US $12/Hr. UK $7.50Hr. Caribbean Area $1/day. China? Pay the factory owner a fixed monthly fee, regardless of the amount produced. These figures are for yr2000. I can't give todays figures, I'd get sacked. So in effect the China labour costs did not enter into the products P&L sheet. Just material, small overhead and logistics.
The comments on duties for components is rubbish. Customs and excise operate a system that assigns a code to an item that is to be imported, whether it is shoes, electronics components or paper, then there is a customs duty code assigned to it. Components such as resistors, capacitors, and IC's do not attract duty. Set top boxes for example, finished products do have an import duty of 4%, last time I looked. Each item is different. I have spent many a happy hour leafing through the codes, and later CD's issued by HMRC to try and justify a lower tariff in order to save money.
The big players in the UK assembly business such as Race have gone, not through being inefficient, but in a lack of vision regarding the supply chain. The remaining surviving UK Electronic Manufacturers, have plants in both the UK and China, best of both worlds. To make a go of it in todays market you need to be big and have direct accounts with your suppliers, which means >$1M dollar accounts usually. I'm surprised that these people are using Farnell for component supply, as Farnell are a distributor, and there is a mark up involved. There are plenty of UK subcontractors around who can push out 30Ku a month no bother, and who would be happy to manage the supply chain too. They will learn.....eventually.