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Graduate works with manufacturer to launch IT accessory onto market

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 07, 2012

From left: Hymid's Mike Wilkins, Andy Tettmar and Vickie Broadbent, with Jake Marsh, foreground, the Raspberry Pi and casings developed for it

From left: Hymid's Mike Wilkins, Andy Tettmar and Vickie Broadbent, with Jake Marsh, foreground, the Raspberry Pi and casings developed for it

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A Torbay manufacturer is collaborating with a start-up launched by an Exeter University graduate to develop an accessory for a ground-breaking British-made computer.

Hymid Multi-Shot, which has a factory in Brixham and a sales office at the Vantage Point Innovation Centre in Paignton, has been commissioned by Jake Marsh to manufacture casings he has designed for the Raspberry Pi.

The £30 hand sized computer was launched by the Corby-based social enterprise the Raspberry Pi Foundation, in February and was developed to encourage children to learn computing and programming in schools.

The device, which can be plugged into a computer monitor, is sold as a bare motherboard, which inspired Mr Marsh, who has just completed a masters degree in civil engineering, to design a casing, which can be bought as an accessory for the product.

He set up in business as ModMyPi at the university's Innovation Centre, just days after the computer was launched onto the market.

Initially planning to manufacture the cases through a low-volume 3D printing process, within days he had taken around 400 orders for his products and realised that he would have to upscale his production processes.

He approached Hymid, which is currently tooling up to injection-mould the cases, with the process funded on the back of the 3,000 orders that ModMyPi has now received for the products, which retail for between £8 and £10.

Mr Marsh said: "This business will definitely be my main focus for the next year or so and I'll be looking to expand the range and push it. Another similar board has now been released onto the market, so the range is not completely limited to the Raspberry Pi."

Hymid's marketing manager, Vickie Broadbent, said: "The designs have been finalised and we're about to start production."

Hymid is set to relocate its sales and manufacturing operations into a single facility in September, having experienced 6 per cent turnover growth in the past 12 months and like-for-like sales growth in excess of 20 per cent.

It is investing around £250,000 in its relocation to the former Sifam factory in Torquay, which at 12,000 sq ft is double the size of its existing facilities.

The company, which has 24 employees, will also look to recruit five further staff in the coming 12 months.

Hymid's manufacturing processes enable two entirely different kinds of plastics to be injected into a mould, forming a chemical bond that's stronger than a single polymer and far more resilient than gluing separate components together.

The company uses the technique to manufacture casings for medical products on behalf of clients and it also makes bestselling kitchen gadget Thermapen on behalf of Worthing-based thermometer manufacturer ETI.

Ms Broadbent added: "We're part of a wider supply chain working with national clients and local companies."

The company is currently exploring avenues into the offshore and renewables industries, with the watertight seals that its processes achieve well suited for deployment within this arena.

Mayor of Torbay Gordon Oliver said: "I'm delighted Hymid is expanding and recruiting new staff, it's very encouraging news."

It is anticipated that the Raspberry Pi cases will begin in production over the coming month. They can be viewed and pre-ordered at: www.modmypi.com.

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