Factory pictures from South Wales

A very quick set of photos taken this morning at the Sony factory in Pencoed, Wales, where Raspberry Pis are being built at a rate of around 2500 a day. Pete, Eben, Mike from Farnell and I were visiting the factory to celebrate its 20th anniversary (and the 40th anniversary of Sony in Wales). This is a bit quick and dirty – these were taken with my phone. We’ll have some nicer photos and some video of the line, the automated processes and some pictures of the whole team to show you later on, but I know a lot of you were waiting to see these today: so here they are!

Final visual check and packing

Gail, doing a final visual check and packing the units into antistatic bags for shipment.

Testing

Joanne and Pam, working on final testing

 

Hand mount

Some of the larger parts are hand-mounted. Ricky is checking and soldering here.

 

Panellised Raspberry Pis

The Raspberry Pis are produced in panels of six. This is Jane, who is very gamely posing for a picture for me.

Eben looks up an old friend

Up periscope!

Highly magnified side view of the PoP stack, moments after exiting the oven. Note the difference in ball pitch between the RAM (top layer), and the BCM2835 processor chip (bottom layer).

Fashion plate Pete Lomas, last heard shouting: “I wish I’d brought my electrostatic clogs!” So do we, Pete. So do we.

 

 

71 comments

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Can I get a six pack ?
I’d like six in on unit

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But not all connectors are accessible …
Would like it too, when the connectors where accessible :D

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Yeah, a six-pack would look great framed on the wall! Do they cut them apart before or after final testing?

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six-pack of pi to go with a six -pack of IPA, imagine the possibilities…want…

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Before!

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I was at a factory a few weeks ago and instead of the usual silly shoes they had disposable heel straps:
http://www.digiprint-supplies.com/anti-static-disposable-heel-straps.html
You slip them in-side the heel of your shoes and then they wrap outside to the floor side of the heel. Never seen them in disposable form before! Way more discrete/fashionable:
http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v1/298448714/Disposable_heel_strap_DH_004.jpg

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The covers also help with dirt and any part of the foot can be touching for them to work.
The heel straps will only sort out static but the strap has to be making contract. Great if everybody stands in one place with their feet planted on the group, but no so good for workers who move around between stations or have a tendency to rest one foot on a chair with plastic covers.

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Even better, I have ESD shoes!
They didn’t make you wear ESD coats? They won’t let you in our production area without one plus a tested foot and wrist strap if your hands are going anywhere near a board.

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If we’re going to be touching boards, we get kitted out with coats and wrist straps. We weren’t today because we weren’t getting our sticky fingers anywhere near them!

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Why not a ball and chain?

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Love the microscope photo! The real reason we can’t build these ourselves!
-Gordon

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That’s a microscope? I thought it was a high-tech “What the Butler Saw”.

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Wow Raspberry Pi’s also made by Nana’s!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_C-98kkAn4&feature=related

Good on em! :-)

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I love Honey Shreddies.

Just thought I’d mention it.

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As do I, they are fantastic.

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Nice to see production at a UK site

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No factory outlet store? I’d be up for a road trip to Pencoed :)

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That one on the far left has got my name on it :-)

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You don’t want that one – it’s a Friday one!

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Can’t be mine after all ’cause Farnell says it has been shipped today. Website said possible 3 week delivery. Them peps at Sony are perhaps doing some overtime. Keep up the good work. Got to pull my finger out now and order cables, SD card etc pronto :-)

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And it’s arrived this morning :-)
BUT
Can’t get my hands on it until Wednesday because that’s when my 40th birthday is :-(
Well it will give the people time through Amazon to deliver my aux equipment. Really want to see it play a HD video then play with ‘scratch’ with my eldest (9) then (big leap) control the GPIO from a mobile phone like the Youtube post with someone pressing a big green button and making an LED turn on. Oh the possibilities then….

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Opened my present this morning and there was the Raspberry Pi. With mounting holes!!! BUT, NO lipstick :-( lol.
Can’t use it yet ’cause Amazon have not delivered aux equipment.
Good news, Farnell says Raspberry Pi book will be despatched sooner rather than later.

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Can we buy a panel of 6?????????????

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So the PI’s are baked!

Gas mark 6 I would guess!

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Raspberry Pi Oompa Loompas……… :)

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LOL!!!

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Out of curiosity, since the RAM is separate from the BCM2835 is it be possible to make Model C’s with more RAM, or does the BCM2835 have a hard limit?

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From comments on the forum, 512MB, problem is that a 512MB is _wayyyy_ more expensive than 2x256MB, so it’s never been considered.

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Very briefly, Farnell had a listing up for 512MB Pi for $50, so that gives a pretty good idea of the price difference.

Bear in mind that with the PoP setup, you *can’t* put a second 256MB RAM package on there…it has to be a 512MB package.

Sooner or later, the price of 512MB will come down to a level where the $35 price point can be met…at that point I wouldn’t be the least surprised to see a new revision (0005?) of the Pi come off the lines.

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That Farnell price is rubbish. They just made up a random number for a non-existent product.

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Thanks everyone.

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Looks as though it was an interesting day. As one of those contemplating the hand soldering of a Gertboard, I look forward to seeing a video of the PI being assembled by robots.

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Can we get some actual X-ray photos? I’d love to see them!

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I’ll ask Pete if he can take some for us; he has an industrial 3D X-ray unit at Norcott, so I’ll see if we can *cough* borrow it.

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Hi Liz, I work at Sony Pencoed in the IT department mainly but like everyone else here I also work in any other department that needs us. I have been following the Raspberry PI for some time and have thought what a brilliant product, back to the Speccy and Beeb days so you can imagine how excited I was when I was told we would be manufacturing the Pis at Pencoed. We are all very proud :-) . It was lovely to see you Pi guys on the visit to Pencoed today. Can you let me know when you are coming next so I can have my Raspberry Pi User Guide signed by you all. Liz can I just compliment you on doing a fantastic job with running this site.
Best Regards

Roy

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Thank you Roy! I’ve got your email address now; I’ll definitely give you a shout next time we’re over; I’m hoping we can fit a trip in in October, but if we don’t we’ll definitely be around in November. (If any of you guys would like to come out for a post-work drink, we’d love you to join us!)

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How close are you to 1M units?

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Within 1M

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Congrats to the Pi team and everyone at Farnell and Sony for making this happen.

Progress is pretty amazing. Software – if you put a Pi running the original squeeze release from launch next to the latest wheezy images with hard float, USB fixes, turbo mode, etc – you’d be hard pressed to even call it the same device. Hardware – USB fuses removed, mounting holes added, etc. Manufacturing – brought into the UK.

It was a year ago in October that I first saw the site and naysayers were still arguing that the Pi would never ship. I hope you all enjoy a celebratory Guinness or other beverage of choice when the 1M device milestone is reached; those folks were very wrong.

While certain large companies are busy trying to use patents to keep their competitors from building rectangular devices with a bezel and rounded corners instead of innovating to stay on top of the market, you’ve (well, we’ve, with all the community involvement) created something that will educate and enable people to come up with The Next Big Thing.

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Ions ago I decided never to buy a Sony product again. Maybe it’s time to change that now… :-)

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This is contract manufactured in a factory owned by Sony – that doesn’t mean its a Sony product. Have you checked what other items in your house might have been made in that factory that are also not Sony?

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Way back, we bought many Sony Trinitrons, as floor monitors. It was noticable that the ones made in Japan were more reliable than the later ones made in Wales. Things seem to have changed …

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You should sell them in six packs if possible! :-) Thanks for the pictures, happy to see electronics built with love <3

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I’d like Pi with more RAM.
More expensive is not problem.
Also I think not one.
How about of 1Gb RAM?

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Is Eben acting out “The Hunt for Raspberry October” ? :-)
Up Pi-riscope!

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ahh – You did’nt see the pictures when they are finished and given a goodbye kiss by the assembly girls (a closer look could reweal traces of lipstick).

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Is that electrostatically safe ?

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If we can’t get more RAM, could we get more RUM instead ?

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Really nice seeing thee being produced in Wales, great job guys and gals.

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They look like a group of people with their fingers in many Pi’s!

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@Liz, don’t know where else to air this, so let me *cough* rant here.

Checked with the 2 official distributors (both Farnell/E14 and RS) here in India, and both of them have 2-3 month+ wait, before they can ship anything. Would it be possible to check at the HQ end, if there’s any particular reason why GMT+5.5 is getting less love !! Especially when people seem to be able to almost order and get boards at fairly short notice (the impression I got reading many of the comments).

PS> I’d completely understand it, if it turns out to be our Customs and port-officials playing spoilt-sport, but would be good to have a real official answer.

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I’ve spent most of the last couple of days with Mike from Farnell; they’re actively working on sorting out extra distribution channels in India, so there’s definitely work being done to sort things out. Customs and port officials *do* make our work quite hard (there have been countries where shipments have been sent back because the guys at customs wouldn’t believe we were selling a computer for $35, mystery impoundments which went away after a few phone calls, and some truly remarkable taxation situations which have our distributors lining up warehousing in countries where they don’t have any at the moment). It’s a big job, but it’s being worked on, and I hope you will soon find that there isn’t a problem in India.

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Thanks @Liz. Appreciate your sincere efforts in helping resolve these distribution issues. We’ve faced problems with customs, especially for individual overseas orders, when sent via EMS, national mail service (s.a. US Postal Service, RMS etc.), so I can understand that it is a very real issue. Hope the folks are able to sort it out. As you might have read, yesterday it was a record of sorts (some folks claim it to be a Guinness record) of 2000+ developers who hacked 18hrs continuously, at a Microsoft hackfest. I trust RaspPi could see a lot of traction here once the availability is sorted out.

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Quick question: why is it that Fanell deliver in less than a week, and RS Online aren’t delivering mine for another four and a half months? Are all theses 2,500 Pis-per-day being given to Farnell only? ;) just wondering. Aside from that, the RPis look amazing! I’ve got a fold up keyboard, mouse and Pico pocket projector to go with mine when it arrives. Can’t wait!

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RS and Farnell are separate entities who arrange their own manufacturing. It’s Farnell who are manufacturing in Wales.

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Are the through-leaded parts hand-placed and wave-soldered, or hand-placed and hand-soldered?

I work as a Production Engineer in the UK electronics manufacturing sector, so it really warms my heart to see a product like this being designed and built in the UK at a price point that is exceptionally competetive.

Really well done to the Rpi team and Sony for making this happen. You should be really proud of finding a UK company that can do build-to-print work at a cost and quality level that compares favourably with far-East manufacturing.

If you ever need to expand on your UK manfacturing capabilities I know our sales team would be delighted to give you a quote and show you around our facilities. http://www.pektron.com/contactus.html

eben

Hand placed and then wave-soldered, with extra hand-tweaking if necessary. (This is Liz: I’m using Eben’s machine!)

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Excellent stuff. I couldn’t figure out from the comment under the photo whether he was hand soldering or just doing inspection and rework.
It can’t be overstated how impressive the Rpi device, foundation, and community are; a success story all round.

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Rumor says that thay kiss’em farewell before boxing

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I heard that they knit them into a panel of 6 first :)

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I too work at Sony Pencoed, within the purchasing team – Its nice to see a modern day piece of kit manufactured in the UK, especially given its a UK designed unit too :o)

Long may it continue…

Time to order the Pi me thinks…!

Ian

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are being built at a rate of around 2500 a day

Is that seven days a week? Also, initial reports were that some production was being moved from China to Wales, moving in stages makes sense, has Chinese production now ceased or will the Welsh 2,500 increase as China tends towards zero?

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Don;t know about he 7 days a week, but Farnell are currently producing in both UK and China, RS just in China.

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I believe the line runs 24-hours a day for four days a week. (It’s about maximum efficiency and giving the workers a decent-sized break.)

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Absolutely fantastic to see these being manufactured in the UK.

Well done to all who made this happen.

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They’ve got the woman in the second photo down working so fast, her hands are just a blur. Can’t get them Pi’s out quick enough, go girl !!!

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I have a pi on order due any time now. I worked at the Sony plant in S.Wales for 21 years. They are only 6 miles from my house, maybe i can go collect my pi direct.

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Fantastic to see the Pi made in Wales! I’m sure my BBC model B was assembled in Wales, too. Now hoping for RiscOS to ‘complete the picture’

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You guys must be really happy and proud to have the raspis manufactured in the UK, congrats :-)

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Sooo, close to where I live :) I propose a smash and grab at the factory :p

Glad they are being made locally. Now I cant get my Milk/Eggs/Butter and Pi :)

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Do they have a factory shop where we can buy these things in person. Seems like a good idea for the locals :D.

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