Not since the ZX Spectrum :)
*waves union jack*
The Raspberry Pi is to be manufactured in the UK - possibly the first time a microcomputer has been produced here, as opposed to simply being assembled, for a number of decades. Production has begun in Sony's Pencoed, South Wales plant on behalf of the Raspberry Pi's sales partner, Element14/Premier Farnell. The initial …
Erm K series engine? really stupidly designed head gasket that failed really quickly, why on earth did they not just use a normal gasket, tried and tested instead of a metal one with some sort of rubber inserts that detached.
Luckily Lotus designed a replacement that worked when they used the K series in the Elise.
The problem was not the engine design itself, it was the accountants who dictated a change from the spec'd metal locating pins to plastic. These didn't do the job!
Quick change to reinforced head gasket and better pins and you have a decent light engine with a good power output for it's size, hence the use of the engine by Land Rover, Caterham, Lotus et al.
Which version of the K series? Which gasket?
There have been at least three different generations of K series. For example in the 1400 there was the Metro version (which was bomb proof), the 'improved' rover 200/400 one which wasn't so, and the rover 25/45/MG one which was good again. It depended upon which cylinder liners you had in the block and what your stroke was. Admittedly the VVC has always been a little fragile.
The other issue was that because they were higher states of tune (for example a 2001 MG ZR 1400 produced 20 bhp more than similar capacity engines of its competitor) they needed more TLC. Most gasket failure was subsequent to overheating. When the engine cooks the head shifts due to expansion and the gasket is then weakened and will start to fail. So basically you should check your water levels regularly.
Unfortunately modern drivers just want a consumer product that can start and stop and ignore between 12000 mile services. Rover engines don't like that kind of neglect.
>possibly the first time a microcomputer has been produced here, as opposed to simply being assembled,
How much of a step up is this really? The SoC, RAM, connectors etc are all going to be produced where they are now.. they might fab the PCB in the UK and do the assembly but isn't that really just "finishing" work.
Also .. if small runs are acceptable I know of at least two micro computers that have been developed and "manufactured" in the UK by hand in the last couple years.
>That is the case, but if you cannot even buy UK manufactured
Doesn't change where they were manufactured..
>Just on the upbeat, the SoC contains an Arm , which was designed in Cambridge
>,and a GPU which was also designed in Cambridge.
That's lovely and all.. but this article is about the Pi being manufactured in the UK.. which most of it isn't. I don't actually see what the advantage of this anyhow... I take it pick and place machines run the same pretty much anywhere.
Would that be the same Lucas whose Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine was saying back in the 1970s that the company should be looking at something called a "hybrid power pack"?
Whatever did happen to Lucas anyway.
Good job a company like that doesn't do anything important like aircraft engine controls.
Lucas Automotive was swallowed up by TRW Automotive towards the end of the 90's. I'm not sure if they bought/acquired Lucas Aerospace at the same time. I was working for them at the time of the 'merger', doing proper manual work instead of all the computery nonsense that I do these days! ;Dx
Show me a modern device with more than 5 parts which is produced *entirely* in a single western country nowadays..
It's more a matter of pride than anything else that the sweet little thing is produced in the UK, but hey..
*cracks whip* put yer backs to it, je lazy gits!! There's peeps all over the world who want to play with the thing you're making.. Get crackin' !!
I work in the sub-contract electronics industry. If the board has been designed correctly for automatic component placement.insertion, then the machine costs are similar to that of the UK. If there is a fair bit of manual insertion/placement, China can be up to 40% cheaper. We design these days to eliminate as much human input as possible. In that way we can compete with China. The Philippines has an equally low labour as China, and many Japanese companies assembly there. Here is an example of labour costs taken as an assessment for the building of new plant to build mechanical items (High labour content)
US $12/Hr. UK $7.50Hr. Caribbean Area $1/day. China? Pay the factory owner a fixed monthly fee, regardless of the amount produced. These figures are for yr2000. I can't give todays figures, I'd get sacked. So in effect the China labour costs did not enter into the products P&L sheet. Just material, small overhead and logistics.
The comments on duties for components is rubbish. Customs and excise operate a system that assigns a code to an item that is to be imported, whether it is shoes, electronics components or paper, then there is a customs duty code assigned to it. Components such as resistors, capacitors, and IC's do not attract duty. Set top boxes for example, finished products do have an import duty of 4%, last time I looked. Each item is different. I have spent many a happy hour leafing through the codes, and later CD's issued by HMRC to try and justify a lower tariff in order to save money.
The big players in the UK assembly business such as Race have gone, not through being inefficient, but in a lack of vision regarding the supply chain. The remaining surviving UK Electronic Manufacturers, have plants in both the UK and China, best of both worlds. To make a go of it in todays market you need to be big and have direct accounts with your suppliers, which means >$1M dollar accounts usually. I'm surprised that these people are using Farnell for component supply, as Farnell are a distributor, and there is a mark up involved. There are plenty of UK subcontractors around who can push out 30Ku a month no bother, and who would be happy to manage the supply chain too. They will learn.....eventually.
Farnell and RS are distributing the final product, and have largely been responsible for bankrolling the first production. It's their retail side that doesn't make much, if any, money on it. As for suppliers, well when you're dealing with the production quantities of parts, having a foot in the supplier's pen does help.
I have to say this. The Raspberry Pi seems to be fairly simple. The only packages the company I work at is not familiar with are the BGA parts. Virtually any SMT mounter can mount BGA parts, but few small companies work with it, as they are harder to hand solder in case they need to be replaced.
Other than that, since there are parts on the lower side, you cannot wave solder the through hole parts. However I, as an end customer would prefer to mount those parts myself.
Good to see that Element14 (formerly part of Acorn Computer) are finally returning to their roots. Mind you, the delays in getting finished products from RS brings back memories of some of the problems in getting new machines from Acorn. If the UK setup for manufacture resolves this in any way, I'll be happier.
I DEMAND an Acorn user button, dammit!
Ok. I'm biting.
The fact that it is a small (undepowered?) cheap computer is precisely WHY it is notable for being built in the UK. UK plants can do big, powerful and expensive no problem at all (ask Roll Royce Aerospace or MacLaren) - they haven't been able to do small and cheap for some time.
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