When the tiny $25 hobbyist computer, the Raspberry Pi, first took hold, manufacturing was relegated to China even though the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a U.K. charity. That’s not exactly a far cry from how a large amount of companies handle their production, but Raspberry Pi production was sent over to China not because the Foundation wanted to cut costs, but because they needed to cut costs until the unit proved popular enough to be produced back in the U.K. Well, the Raspberry Pi proved popular enough, and with the help of Sony Wales, the Raspberry Pi is now being produced in the U.K. where the Foundation originally intended it to be.
The Foundation explains that when they first launched the Raspberry Pi, they wanted it to be produced in their home, the U.K., in order to inject a bit of life into the U.K.’s computer manufacturing sector. However, they couldn’t find a manufacturer willing to drop their price per unit to one low enough to support the Raspberry Pi’s $25 and $35 price tags, so they began manufacturing in China. Once the Raspberry Pi proved popular enough, the Foundation began looking for manufacturers back in the U.K. once again. Back in April, the founders of the Raspberry Pi took a tour of Sony’s U.K. manufacturing plant in Wales, then took several meetings and phone calls with the branch. Then, the founders introduced the Sony plant to the Raspberry Pi manufacturers and distributors, and voila, Sony’s plant is now manufacturing Raspberry Pis.
The founder heaped nothing but praise on the Sony plant, saying, “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.” They also note that Sony was able to invest £50,000 — around 79,000 USD — in Package on Package manufacturing, which is neat because it allows for hardware bits stuffed into the Raspberry Pi to be moved around, and for the unit to be expanded. So, it potentially allows Sony and the Raspberry Pi Foundation to pack even more punch into the little unit.
The first contract the Foundation has with the Sony plant will see the production of 30,000 Raspberry Pis a month, and will create 30 new jobs, which is great all around in that everyone could use a job, and now, hopefully, the Raspberry Pi won’t be on back order for months at a time and we can all impulse buy one at four in the morning one night, because hey, the top-of-the-line model is only $35.
(via Raspberry Pi)
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