Premier Farnell plc (LSE: pfl), a top worldwide distributor of electronics, has agreed to a deal with Sony UK Technology Centre (UKTec). The deal, which is worth millions of pounds, will result in the manufacturing of the revolutionary Raspberry Pi computer in the UK for the first time.
The Raspberry Pi Computer
The Raspberry Pi computer is a credit-card sized computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a non-profit foundation, to psyche young people into having an interest for computer programming. This technological feat has proven to have an escalating demand with the largest online community in the world for electronics savvy persons and design engineers, Element14 Community.
Following the February 2012 global launch of the revolutionary Raspberry Pi computer, Premier Farnell reported that first release sold out in minutes and that demand for the computer is still high. Educational institutions have shown a keen interest in acquiring the technology because it inspires the younger generation to learn how to build and programme the computer devices for themselves. Innovative engineers are also taken in with the technology’s capability for exciting new applications, as are the computer technology enthusiasts.
Implications for Premier Farnell
Premier Farnell’s Global Head of EDE, Mike Buffham, said that there was a long-standing plan for taking production to the UK through the Wales-based Sony UKTec, which is a quality brand and has an on-board broadcast manufacturing site. “When it came to reviewing our manufacturing strategy we were always keen to bring the production of the Raspberry Pi to the UK. From the outset Sony UK Technology Centre demonstrated its enthusiasm for the product as well as its expertise in manufacturing.”
The manufacture of the Raspberry Pi computer in the UK is a large-scale project that requires Sony UKTec to invest in more assembly equipment in order to meet the order requirements. This move is also expected to provide flexibility and scalability, which will facilitate efficient catering for the anticipated demand. Some of the equipment will include double side reflow machines and automated circuit board apparatus.
Mike Buffham also commended Sony UKTec’s site, Pencoed, for being impressive and capable of delivering within the designated budget and timeframe. The package-on-package (PoP) technique that Sony UKTec plans to incorporate as an extension of its manufacturing process capability will improve the overall reliability of the Raspberry P1 Computer.
A Word from the Raspberry Pi Co-founder
Commenting on the popularity of the Raspberry computer, the co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Eben Upton said, “When Pete Lomas and I built the first Raspberry Pi’s for testing last year, we never dreamed it would become so popular so quickly.” Upton also commended Premier Farnell for having found a reliable manufacturer in Sony UK Technology.
He said that the development and distribution of this product on UK soil will support the country’s economy a great deal and reveal the UK’s technological innovations, inventions and manufacturing capabilities.