Whilst attending the Engineering Design Show 2013 there was a number of seminars to attend so selected this presentation by Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Pete Lomas. Kavia Moulded Products are currently working on two Raspberry Pi case projects, one is a customer project for some light pipes in a die cast aluminium case and the other is a collaboration project for a polycarbonate case with some unique features.
The presentation was a great opportunity to hear the Raspberry Pi story first hand giving great background information on the makings of this exciting Foundation and product. Headings presented were:
- The problem
- Reshoring the production into UK
- Where next
The most intuitive type of product design is to solve a problem, founders of Raspberry Pi noted that electronics was here to stay but employees and undergraduate skills were diminishing. They felt that was undermined by computer science and engineering being perceived as geeky and current juvenile generations are used to using top level interface products and not getting under bonnet so to speak. Also these sophisticated products are expensive and inaccessible bonded together units.
This is stunting the creativity and quality of young people interested in computer science related subjects.
Therefore the Raspberry Pi is aiming its affords at the education sector with cheap and accessible products backed up with learning resources.
The Foundation plans to raise awareness, engagement supported by an open platform of software and hardware.
Reshoring the production into UK
A key point in the success story was to license the Raspberry Pi production with Farnel and RS. Up to this point the Foundation did not have a lot of capital funds and had manufactured 10,000 units in China but had had interest for 200,000 (a nice problem to have).
Kavia has written about the challenges of managing offshore projects in China and Raspberry Pi had similar problems with quality yield rates and a costly un-notified component exchange that cost a lot of time and money. Raspberry Pi conducted a reshoring analysis with the following headings:
- Component costs, higher in the UK
- Assembly, higher in UK unless automated
- Quality test and yield rates, lower test costs and better yields in UK
- Support and monitoring lower in UK
- Transport lower in UK
Pete Lomas revealed some interesting figures about yield rates of China versus UK production, China was managing 0.5% and the UK achieves 0.03%. Significant difference given sales to date are now 1.8 million.
Kavia has a number of UK based electronic contract manufacturers and own product manufacturers, the latter are like Raspberry Pi utilising highly automated PCB production systems and lower costs of quality. If you have an electronic based project we are more than happy to recommend our UK contract manufacturers.
No business can stand still and although the Foundation is a non-profit, the more successful it is the more impact it can make on its aims and goals. The maker-space market is worth £5 billion and is fast moving with competing products entering this valuable sector every month. The Foundation plans to:
- Increase resourcing for funds, offices and development
- Education material
- Better worldwide distribution
- Incremental product performance improvements such as power consumption
Raspberry Pi 2 in 2014?
Peter summed up by reiterating the founding metric of “have a go” to the audience, give children a target and the tools to make it and they will learn. Kavia Moulded Products are exciting to be working in this exciting sector with two case projects and look forward to showing Pete our new case concept. Watch out for info in our news blog in due course.