ELECTRONICS FIRM Sony has produced 500,000 Raspberry Pi computers in just six months at its manufacturing plant in Wales.
The Raspberry Pi is assembled by two firms, Premier Farnell/Element14 and RS Components. The former uses the Sony factory for 100 percent of its production. It achieved this earlier this year, and now all of its Raspberry Pi computers are manufactured in the UK. They are also rattling off the production lines.
"Sony's only been making Pis for us since September, but today they announced that the 500,000th Pi has just rolled off their lines," said a blog post from Liz Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
"At the moment nearly 40,000 Pis are being made in Pencoed every week, and that number is set to climb further (I have some projections I'm not allowed to share, but they did make me swallow sharply when I read them) - even at these numbers we're still having trouble meeting demand around the world."
Making the computers in such volume is good news for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, but it is also very good for Welsh manufacturing. The goundation has always striven to produce the Raspberry Pi locally and was ecstatic when RS Components said that it was in the process of moving 100 percent of its manufacturing to the Sony plant too.
"We're very pleased to hear the news. It's great for British manufacturing, and it's something that can make a huge impact on the individual people who will be employed to build the Pis," said Upton in March.
"Manufacturing in South Wales has taken such a hit in the last few decades. I'd love to think that we're doing something to show that actually, there's no reason to offshore if you're building electronics in the UK."
This is of course just the beginning and now all eyes are on the next landmark of one million. According to the man in the know, that will take even less time to reach.
"In June we scheduled 204 units per week. By July that had climbed to 10,000 units per week - this month we will achieve 38,000 output per week, and this is just the beginning! The future is about higher volumes, and accessories such as a camera board," said Gerald Kelly, the general manager of Sony's Pencoed plant.
"Current total forecast for Pi products indicate that 1,000,000 output will be achieved sometime in July this year."
Eben Upton, the creator of the Raspberry Pi, said he was thrilled that his creation was being built so close to home.
"As an engineer, it's awesome to see how fast Raspberry Pi has taken off, and the range of things people have found to do with them," he told The INQUIRER.
"As a Welshman, it's awesome to see them being built near where I was born, and to see a Welsh factory able to compete on a level footing with Far Eastern manufacturers in producing a low-cost product like the Pi." µ
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