Sheffield is a city well-known for making and manufacture. But today it’s also home to a wealth of digital innovators leading the way in making which combines new technologies and cutting edge design.
One such business celebrated in the current Made in Sheffield exhibition at the Millennium is Pimoroni, an educational technology company at the forefront of their field.
Founded in 2012 by Jon Williamson and Paul Beech, Pimoroni make digital technology for people starting out in code and electronics, alongside making cases for Raspberry Pi computers. If you want to learn about electronics, Pimoroni will help you start.
The Raspberry Pi is a small cheap computer that comes without a case, keyboard or screen that was designed to ignite a new interest in Computer Science. Paul and Jon developed a rainbow coloured case named ‘Pibow’ specifically for it which proved so popular they were able to start up Pimoroni.
Jon said “We started with one laser cutter and a kettle. Our Rainbow coloured Pibow case was a big hit with the Raspberry Pi community, they’ve since helped us to employ 33 people in Sheffield and have five lasers cutters working tirelessly.”
Before setting up Pimoroni Paul had been working in digital design at a number of places including Sheffield’s Gremlin Interactive, Zoo Digital and dust. Jon comes from a development and coding background and had previously run and owned his own technology business.
Pimoroni design, engineer, test, assemble, package, and ship all from their premises in Sheffield. “When we moved into the new workshop in Manton Street we figured we would be here for a while. But actually we’re now really desperate to find new bigger premises, hopefully somewhere close by - we love being in heart of the city.”
The team are really proud to continue Sheffield’s strong design legacy and emphasise that they manufacture all their own products in the UK. “Our printed circuit boards are produced by Ragworm in Rochester and Portsmouth and where possible we source locally. Keeping things even closer to home, our Picade arcade cabinet panels are powder coated just down the road from us!”
Jon and Paul intend to continue to sustain the current growth of the business, move further in to the European market and are looking at retail opportunities for their own products. “We sell our products internationally already, but we’ve recently launched Pimoroni.de which is in German and offers German Language customer support. It’s a great postiion to build and grow from.”
Jon and Paul are delighted to have their products featured in a showcase of making and manufacturing in the city. “Being included in the Made in Sheffield exhibition alongside such varied innovative and skilled makers from the city makes us feel proud to be part of an awesome gang. We have always known and thought of Sheffield as a City of Makers and to see that recognised like this is brilliant.”
Made in Sheffield continues at the Millennium Gallery until Sunday 8 January 2017 – entry is free.