Skip main navigation

A Tour of Industry

Let's have a look at two companies who design and create physical computing boards and accessories.
Let’s have a look at two UK companies who work in the area of creating physical computing devices and accessories. The two companies we’re going to look at are Kitronik and Pimoroni– both of them based in the UK. Kitronik and Pimoroni are leaders in the field of physical computing. They create and sell physical computing devices, accessories, materials, and they both develop learning resources for people to develop their skills further. Inside their warehouses, you’ll find a variety of machines. Here is a pick-and-place machine of Pimoroni. It is the core component of the production line. It assembles a printed circuit board by placing individual components such as resistors and microprocessors onto the actual board.
As well as electronics, they both sell materials for hobbyists to prototype and create with, such as acrylic, wood, foam, and 3D printing filament. Some parts are designed on site but created elsewhere, like this printed circuit board known as a PCB. Not all jobs are done by machines. Here, an engineer is testing a board with a spectrum analyzer to check for potential issues. Also, not all parts can be placed on the pick-and-place machine. Some of them need to be hand soldered together. Heat is applied to solder to join two electronic pieces together. Both Pimoroni and Kitronik have a number of these laser cutters to cut materials that they use for robot chassis and cases. Some machines come in very simple forms.
This is a vibratory bowl feeder and auto sealer. The bowls vibrate to sort of nuts and bolts onto a path which allows them to be automatically counted and placed into bags which are then heat sealed and cut. Kitronik and Pimoroni have a wide variety of customers– from education, schools and universities, to hobbyists, makers, and other industries. Everyone needs some creativity.

Watch for a tour of Kitronik who are based in Nottingham and Pimoroni who are in Sheffield. These two companies kindly opened their doors to us to show what it’s like creating for the physical computing market.

This article is from the free online

Build a Physical Computing Prototype

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education