Pencoed-based Sony UK Technology Centre celebrates unprecedented growth

The Sony UK Technology Centre, which is based in Pencoed, is celebrating unprecedented growth which has resulted in staff and production numbers soaring.

Over the past five years, the facility has seen its staff numbers grow by 200 – taking the total of its local team to 540. This comes as the company has also seen an increase in production.

This month, the award-winning factory reached the 10 million Raspberry Pi manufacturing milestone in only five years. It’s played an instrumental role in the journey of the third best-selling general purpose computer.

Raspberry Pi was originally manufactured in China, but its creator Eben Upton moved production to Sony UK TEC in 2012 as a result of its capacity and innovative automated processes.

He first approached the facility to make 10,000 of the low-cost, credit card-sized computers on a yearly basis. However, demand quickly soared, and Sony went on to product one million of the gadgets in the first year.

Within two years, these numbers grew to five million, and now the facility can produce up to 100,000 Pis per week. Steve Dalton OBE, managing director of Sony UK TEC, commended his team.

“The last five years has seen unprecedented growth across our Pencoed facility, something we are understandably incredibly proud of,” he said.

“Our growth has been intrinsically linked to the success of the Raspberry Pi and we are delighted to reach the 10m manufacturing milestone.

“This is a significant achievement for everyone involved in its production, especially our devoted Sony Team, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and distributors Premier Farnell.

He added: “It is also a significant achievement for the Welsh manufacturing sector to have an internationally successful, high volume, low-cost electronic product manufactured right here in Wales.

“This technology and growth has challenged our highly skilled team of engineers and technicians to develop new processes and drive innovation through the spirit of continuous improvement.

“In addition we were able to support the Pi Foundation further by introducing Pi manufacturing to our Japan counterparts and there is now a ‘made in Japan’ version of Pi.

“We look forward to continuing this successful partnership, reaching the next significant milestone and creating even more of these revolutionary computers.”

To celebrate the milestone, Mr Dalton was joined at a special event by his senior staff and manufacturing team – along with Raspberry Pi Foundation founders Eben Upton and Pete Lomas.

Upton said: “The last five years has been extremely exciting for us as we watched the Raspberry Pi become Britain’s best-selling computer of all time.

“When we initially began manufacturing it here at Sony UK TEC we could never have imagined it would be the soaring success it has become – and for that we are entirely grateful to Sony and our distribution partners.

“We are particularly delighted that the Pi has set the benchmark for utilizing innovative and progressive manufacturing right here in the UK, as it was always our wish to make the computers in this country.

“Thanks to Sony UK TEC’s unparalleled manufacturing standards, comprising the latest techniques and the very best in engineering talent, we were able to create a product which has become a global best seller – with 14million sold, two thirds of which has been built in South Wales.”