500,000th Raspberry Pi rolls off Welsh production line

Summary:A factory in Wales has made 500,000 Raspberry Pi devices since last September.

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'We thought we'd sell 1,000': The inside story of the Raspberry Pi

The $35 Linux Raspberry Pi computer has sparked a coding revolution. Here's the inside story of the Pi, from its inspiration and development to plans for its future.

The 500,000th credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer has rolled off the production line at a UK factory that only started making the devices last September. 

All Raspberry Pi devices were originally manufactured in China but an increasing number are now being made at the Sony plant in South Wales.

The Linux mini computer is distributed by Element 14 and RS Components. The former already makes 100 percent of its Raspberry Pi devices in Wales while the latter is in the process of moving the "bulk" of its manufacturing from the Far East and into Wales.

The factory in Pencoed, just outside Cardiff, now makes 40,000 Raspberry devices every week and that number is set to rise, according to a blog post by Liz Upton, head of communications for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. "I have some projections I’m not allowed to share, but they did make me swallow sharply when I read them," she said, on Thursday. 

"We sold our millionth Pi in January. Soon there will be more Made in the UK Pis in the world than their Made in China cousins," she added.

Despite tens of thousands of the devices coming off the production line each week, the charity is still struggling to meet global demand, according to the blog post.

The foundation only expected to ever sell 1,000 devices, but a total of one million Raspberry Pi devices had been sold worldwide in January.

Gerald Kelly, the GM of Sony's Pencoed plant, said: "In June we scheduled 204 units per week. By July that had climbed to 10,000 units per week – this month we will achieve 38,000 output per week, and this is just the beginning.

"The future is about higher volumes, a second generation Pi  and accessories such as a camera board. Current total forecast for Pi products indicate that 1,000,000 output will be achieved sometime in July this year."

Topics: Open Source, United Kingdom

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Sam is generally at his happiest with a new piece of technology in his hands or nailing down an exclusive story. In the past he's written for The Engineer and the Daily Mail, covering emerging technology in electronics, energy, defence, materials, aerospace, automotive and healthcare. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging... Full Bio

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