The Raspberry Pi Blog today posted that the Raspberry Pi is going to be made in the UK (South Wales) after original being made in China.
Back at the beginning of April, Eben and I paid a visit to Sony’s UK manufacturing plant in Pencoed, South Wales. Several meetings, a factory tour, a lot of phone calls, some PowerPoint and sandwiches, and an up-close-and-personal with a wave soldering machine later, we were able to introduce our manufacturing and distributing partners to Sony’s Welsh facility, where, as well as making Sony products, Sony’s team undertakes contract electronic manufacture (CEM). It’s an incredibly impressive affair; the quietest, pleasantest plant I’ve ever been in, all comfortable lighting, ergonomic workspaces, cool air and relaxed staff. Sony’s quality control system is legendary, their ability to manufacture fast and cleanly is superb, and they’ve already invested in adding 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 manufacture ability and expansion capability just for us. 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.
The upshot of all this? Element14/Premier Farnell have made the decision to move the bulk of their Raspberry Pi manufacture to South Wales. Moving manufacture like this is an enormous undertaking; from the start of the process, it’s taken us (especially Pete), Farnell and Sony nearly six months to get all our respective ducks in a row. The initial contract will see the Pencoed plant producing 30,000 Raspberry Pis a month, and creating around 30 new jobs.
How do you know if you’ve got a UK-made board? Easy. Look next to the power jack; you’ll see the words “Made in the UK”. We couldn’t be prouder.