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.


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.




RaTTuS avatar

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

LittleFox avatar

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

Edward G Prentice avatar

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

Abel (in Texas) avatar

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

liz avatar


Bob H avatar

I was at a factory a few weeks ago and instead of the usual silly shoes they had disposable heel straps:
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:

Winkleink avatar

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.

Simon avatar

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.

liz avatar

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!

scrishton avatar

Why not a ball and chain?

Gordon Henderson avatar

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

Captainwebb avatar

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

Paul Read avatar

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


Good on em! :-)

JamesH avatar

I love Honey Shreddies.

Just thought I’d mention it.

Alex avatar

As do I, they are fantastic.

Dazzzle avatar

Nice to see production at a UK site

Eoghan Conway avatar

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

Rogerramjet avatar

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

Andy avatar

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

rogerramjet avatar

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 :-)

Rogerramjet avatar

And it’s arrived this morning :-)
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….

Rogerramjet avatar

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.

Wombat avatar

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

Wombat avatar

So the PI’s are baked!

Gas mark 6 I would guess!

x avatar

Raspberry Pi Oompa Loompas……… :)

Me avatar


Alien/ST-CNX avatar

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?

sjfaustino avatar

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

W. H. Heydt avatar

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.

JamesH avatar

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

Alien/ST-CNX avatar

Thanks everyone.

exartemarte avatar

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.

Katzohki avatar

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

liz avatar

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.

Roy avatar

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


liz avatar

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!)

AceRimmer avatar

How close are you to 1M units?

JamesH avatar

Within 1M

Andrew Bingham avatar

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.

M.V. Wesstein avatar

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

JamesH avatar

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?

Andy avatar

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 …

Stefan S. avatar

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

RomanNV avatar

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

AndrewS avatar

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

Strawberry_Monty avatar

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).

vasi avatar

Is that electrostatically safe ?

Strawberry_Monty avatar

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

Ma5h avatar

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

Ste Wright avatar

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

Banibrata Dutta (@edgeliving) avatar

@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.

liz avatar

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.

Banibrata Dutta (@edgeliving) avatar

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.

Joe A avatar

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!

JamesH avatar

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

Gordon Smith avatar

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 avatar

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

Gordon Smith avatar

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.

Strawberry_Monty avatar

Rumor says that thay kiss’em farewell before boxing

matty avatar

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

Ian (Williams) avatar

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…!


Ralph Corderoy avatar

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?

JamesH avatar

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

liz avatar

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.)

zag2 avatar

Absolutely fantastic to see these being manufactured in the UK.

Well done to all who made this happen.

markrfry avatar

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 !!!

David Austin avatar

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.

Khurram Rehman avatar

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’

Ronald avatar

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

Ploggy avatar

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 :)

Kash avatar

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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