RichA
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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's hard to come by?

Fri May 11, 2012 5:44 pm

I've seen this happen in electronic's industry before.  Finite production space = rationing, delays and shortages.  I figure a big fab could churn out 100,000 boards a day.  Don't know about the processors though.

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's hard to come by?

Fri May 11, 2012 6:50 pm

No, I don't believe there is any problem in that area, or in processor supply. It's just a standard ramp up to large volumes which does take some care with ordering and scheduling. Remember, the Foundation made the first batch, then RS and Farnell took over, with all the associated trials and tribulations.
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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Sat May 12, 2012 8:23 pm

I wouldn't worry. IMO cell phones will soon cease to be a growth technology and there will be such a glut of them that they'll be priced like calculators and digital watches.

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Sun May 13, 2012 3:48 pm

1,546,000,000 mobile phones were said to have shipped worldwide in 2011. If we're to say that 500,000 RaspPis will be sold over the next 12 months, this represents just 0.03% of the worldwide production of mobile-orientated designs.

The components used in the RaspPi are generally considered commodities. They don't need to worry about securing Gorilla glass, LCD panels, complex casing, batteries, touch screen digitisers or SSDs. Just a circuit board, a SoC, resisters, fuses, and common connectors. The only identified barrier to supply has been the shielded network port.

Whereas the likes of Apple need quite specialised production lines, it sounds as if many generic facilities could accommodate the RaspPi within a matter or weeks.

All this returns us to the fact that it's relatively easy to churn out hardware, but will require many years of hard work to turn around a ICT curriculum that hasn't been as focused on development skills.

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Sun May 13, 2012 6:04 pm

Whilst RasPi parts are pretty much commodities they still have to be ordered. Nobody will have 250,000 SoCs sitting on a shelf so it will take a little time to get the components together.

The other pinch point will be the resources of RS and Element 14. They can’t simply suddenly expand to be able to deal with RasPis by the 100,000.

My guess would be, from all that we have seen so far, that processing 15,000 RasPis per week will stretch the resources of both Element 14 and RS. That will soon start to eat in to the outstanding orders but it looks like it will be the back end of August/September before RS can deliver all of the outstanding 250,000.

Hopefully the next update from RS will make me look a fool!

Yertiz

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Sun May 13, 2012 7:55 pm

yertiz wrote: The other pinch point will be the resources of RS and Element 14. They can’t simply suddenly expand to be able to deal with RasPis by the 100,000. {snipped]
My guess would be, from all that we have seen so far, that processing 15,000 RasPis per week will stretch the resources of both Element 14 and RS.
But RS and Element 14 will be avoiding the pinch point with subsequent** batches by sending them direct to their regions, in bulk, for them to redistribute locally. Presumably there was a 'fixed requirement' for the remainder of the 10,000 original Foundation order to be re-shipped back to the UK (and original paying customer) after the remedial work was completed.

**maybe not their first batch, as they may prefer central monitoring of QA to ensure no similar component substitution problems.

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Sun May 13, 2012 7:57 pm

yertiz wrote:Whilst RasPi parts are pretty much commodities they still have to be ordered. Nobody will have 250,000 SoCs sitting on a shelf so it will take a little time to get the components together.

The other pinch point will be the resources of RS and Element 14. They can’t simply suddenly expand to be able to deal with RasPis by the 100,000.

My guess would be, from all that we have seen so far, that processing 15,000 RasPis per week will stretch the resources of both Element 14 and RS. That will soon start to eat in to the outstanding orders but it looks like it will be the back end of August/September before RS can deliver all of the outstanding 250,000.

Hopefully the next update from RS will make me look a fool!

Yertiz
I'm afraid, as you said, that this is just a guess. And fortunately, not an accurate one!
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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Mon May 14, 2012 1:28 am

Cirucuit boards aren't made in fabs (semiconductor fabrication plants), semiconductor devices are. Boards are made by just one of a number of suppliers, and assembly of all of the components (the SoC, Ethernet/USB controller, power regulators, resistors, capacitors, LEDs, polyfuses, I/O connectors, etc.) onto the boards is performed at yet-another facility. Manufacturing half a million SoCs can't be done overnight and while the end-to-end time isn't the upward of 90 days it takes to fabricate the highest-end, bleeding-edge microprocessors like Intel I7 models, I'm sure it's at least a six-week lead-time to get hundreds of thousands of BMC2835 SoCs rolling through a fab. I'm guessing half a million SoCs weren't sitting on a shelf available for Pi builds on 29 February, and there's now been time to get them through a fab by the end of this month.

After all of the components are lined up, it's then a matter of spinning up the final assembly line which, although it does include robotic parts picking and placement (which needs to be programmed, but, that was already done for the initial 10,000 run), still requires a team to become trained to keep things flowing from the supply chain. The team also has to perform final testing and quality control before packaging for shipping to at least dozens of distributor sites around the world, now. The sooner all of this can be completed, the better, because demand (and therefore costs) to set up and run lines increase later in the year, as the late Summer and all through the Fall is the peak manufacturing period for consumer electronics in advance of the holiday shopping season.

I guess we now have to wonder if demand for the Pi is going to attain the lofty heights of holiday craziness that Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo dolls have reached in years past. Can hundreds of Raspberry Pi retail stores around the world with endless lines of people waiting outside for shipments to arrive be coming? :)
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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Mon May 14, 2012 9:25 am

jamesh wrote:
I'm afraid, as you said, that this is just a guess. And fortunately, not an accurate one!
Let's hope so. Presumably you have more accurate information. Are you prepared to share it?

Yertiz

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Mon May 14, 2012 10:32 am

yertiz wrote:
jamesh wrote:
I'm afraid, as you said, that this is just a guess. And fortunately, not an accurate one!
Let's hope so. Presumably you have more accurate information. Are you prepared to share it?

Yertiz
This comes down to the oft repeated question ...

If a response is possible or forthcoming, what difference will it make to your life? If you have a personal need for 25,000 Pi's I'm sure you'll find you can come up with something alternative or get a response from RS/Farnell. If you are wondering when yours will arrive, then it will come when it comes.

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Mon May 14, 2012 10:37 am

yertiz wrote:
jamesh wrote:
I'm afraid, as you said, that this is just a guess. And fortunately, not an accurate one!
Let's hope so. Presumably you have more accurate information. Are you prepared to share it?

Yertiz
Yes I do; no I'm not.
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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Mon May 14, 2012 11:08 am

jamesh wrote:
yertiz wrote:
jamesh wrote:
I'm afraid, as you said, that this is just a guess. And fortunately, not an accurate one!
Let's hope so. Presumably you have more accurate information. Are you prepared to share it?

Yertiz
Yes I do; no I'm not.
Love this - and before anyone says James should, ask yourself, why should he and if you had a business relationship with someone, would you want to share all the details with just anyone that asked for no apparent reason?

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Mon May 14, 2012 11:13 am

Put it like this - if I were to divulge the information I have, I would lose my job because it's company confidential information, and as you might expect, I don't want to lose my job! People asking these sorts of question really need to think more about what they are asking for, and what the impact may of the answers being public.
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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Wed May 16, 2012 7:32 pm

jamesh wrote:
yertiz wrote:
jamesh wrote:
I'm afraid, as you said, that this is just a guess. And fortunately, not an accurate one!
Let's hope so. Presumably you have more accurate information. Are you prepared to share it?

Yertiz
Yes I do; no I'm not.
I see from the review at http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/3010 ... rives.aspx that your information appears to be more accurate than my guess.

“But the distributor warned of extensive wait times for the popular PC saying that there was no visibility on when delivery could be made on new orders despite a current production cycle of 15000 units every two days.“

It is a shame that RS did not include this information in last Friday’s update. I suspect it is information that those in the queue might find of interest. It would have been nice if customers got the information before the press.

Yertiz

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Wed May 16, 2012 8:56 pm

The May 11th Blog post quoted RS as saying:
A secure delivery schedule is in place for the next 75,000 Raspberry Pi boards, which will take us through May and June. ... To give you some idea of what this means, by 5pm GMT on the day that Raspberry Pi launched, 29th February, we had received around 75,000 registrations. We expect to invite all of these people to place their order over the course of the next 7 to 10 days.
That's an initial production rate of 50,000 per month. A previous blog reported that the initial delivery was to be 12,000 boards in the third week of May. Dividing one figure by the other reveals that the delivery schedule must be around 12,000 per week.
And of course, that's just RS; Farnell is taking delivery of similar numbers. So the true figures would be 24,000 per week for a total of 150,000 by the end of June.

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Thu May 17, 2012 9:50 am

rurwin wrote:The May 11th Blog post quoted RS as saying:
A secure delivery schedule is in place for the next 75,000 Raspberry Pi boards, which will take us through May and June. ... To give you some idea of what this means, by 5pm GMT on the day that Raspberry Pi launched, 29th February, we had received around 75,000 registrations. We expect to invite all of these people to place their order over the course of the next 7 to 10 days.
That's an initial production rate of 50,000 per month. A previous blog reported that the initial delivery was to be 12,000 boards in the third week of May. Dividing one figure by the other reveals that the delivery schedule must be around 12,000 per week.
And of course, that's just RS; Farnell is taking delivery of similar numbers. So the true figures would be 24,000 per week for a total of 150,000 by the end of June.
That is the information on which I based my initial guess of deliveries of around 15,000 per week. The production rate quoted in the press article suggests a much faster 15,000 every two days. That would be around 270,000 by the end of June which should allow both RS and Element 14 to clear their initial backlog by the end of June or soon after.

I hope it is correct.

yertiz

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Thu May 17, 2012 11:59 am

I don't think RS have plans to increase production for delivery before the end of June. Otherwise what they were quoted as saying would be incorrect, or at best misleading.

They certainly may expect to order an increased amount for delivery from July on, but they may not have finalised that order yet.

If we read the press article as saying that 15,000 units take two days to produce (and press articles have been more misleading than that in the past), then the current production facility seems able to produce over three times the quantity -- 52,500 units per week. So four weeks into July RS could have shipped 210,000+75,000 = 285,000. That would clear the current backlog, although one hopes more orders will arrive in the interrim.

I don't know what the lead time would be on processors, but manufacturing seems to have a lead time of about a month. Orders for the increased numbers of processors would probably have been placed with Broadcom already, at least in preliminary form. James H would therefore be aware now of the production rates proposed for post-June. I don't expect him to confirm that.

Of course that is only a guess, and it is almost certainly even more wildly inaccurate than your first one.

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Re: Too much cellphone production making fab space for Pi's

Thu May 17, 2012 1:08 pm

rurwin wrote
If we read the press article as saying that 15,000 units take two days to produce (and press articles have been more misleading than that in the past), then the current production facility seems able to produce over three times the quantity -- 52,500 units per week. So four weeks into July RS could have shipped 210,000+75,000 = 285,000. That would clear the current backlog, although one hopes more orders will arrive in the interrim.
That is how the arithmetic worked for me although it is, as you said, at odds with the last RS update on the blog.

Orders for the increased numbers of processors would probably have been placed with Broadcom already, at least in preliminary form. James H would therefore be aware now of the production rates proposed for post-June. I don't expect him to confirm that.
Neither do I. He needs to look after his day job first.

My original speculation was not that Pis could not be physically produced in sufficient numbers but that RS’s systems might not be able to cope with those quantities.

What I see in the “Invitation to Order” post http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... f=2&t=5449 does not seem to tie up with notifying the next 75,000 customers within the next ten days, as indicated in the last blog. RS need to be notifying 7,500 per day per day. However, the highest order number I have seen is around 8600 which suggests they are only managing 1,000 per day or so.

I’m ever hopeful that my speculation is incorrect.

yertiz

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