Element 14, the electronics company owned by FTSE 250 distribution company Premier Farnell has announced plans to move production of its raspberry Pi to Pencoed, Wales. It’s the cherry on top for the Welsh manufacturing hub, which already churns out a smorgasbord of products for Japanese tech giant Sony.
The Pi, which was first unveiled in January last year, is a credit-card-sized computer (sans monitor, keyboard or mouse) which aims to get kids back into programming - like those simple home PCs of the eighties did. It contains an ARM processor and a GPU with double the grunt of the iPhone 4s. USB ports allow budding Wozniacs to connect their Raspberry Pis to the web, and hook it up to all the accoutrements necessary for programming mayhem.
The British-designed device sold out within hours of its launch, and production has struggled to keep up with demand ever since. Almost a million Raspberry Pi units have been sold to date, and accessories for the device have also been flying off the online shelves: everything from USB power adaptors, keyboard and mouse sets, to memory cards.
Production was originally based in two plants in China to cut overheads, but shipping costs and overlong lead times have prompted Element 14 to bring the Pi back to Blighty, following the super-trendy ‘onshoring model’.
‘We are constantly amazed by the demand for the Raspberry Pi across the world and have done everything we can to ensure we keep our supply chain stocked,’ said Claire Doyle, Element14’s head of Raspberry Pi. ‘We believe that a UK creation should be produced in its home country and since partnering with Sony we have been delighted with the product’s quality.'
Want to see how the Raspberry Pi is made? Check out this video from inside the Pencoed factory: