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Farnell element14 launches Autodesk franchise to distribute leading MCAD software solutions

Development distributor Farnell element14 has announced a new franchise with mechanical design editor Autodesk, to distribute its products in Europe, including two new products from Autodesk, AutoCAD LT (2D drawing and prototyping) and AutoDesk Fusion 360 (mechanical design, 3D modelling, rapid prototyping and 3D prototyping/printing). Peter Wenzel, Global Software Product Line Manager for element14, speaking of the new franchise agreement said: "the new Autodesk franchise strengthens Farnell element14's portfolio of professional engineering software and solidifies our position as the destination for engineering software for electronics and industrial engineers alike. As one of the most trusted CAD tool providers in the world for all engineering disciplines, Autodesk's products complement Farnell element14's existing capabilities and offerings and will also present new mechanical design opportunities for members of our element14 Community."

Autodesk products are one of many in Farnell element14's portfolio of embedded, PCB, and mechanical software available on the element14 Design Center. All of the main categories of design software are available: integrated development environments & compilers, operating systems and middleware, EDA software, mechanical design software and test & simulation software. Additionally, the Design Center provides customers with a streamlined software selection and purchasing experience with free software trials and multiple delivery options, including instantaneous eDelivery. They are available through Farnell element14 offices in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

element14 exclusively launches BitScope Blade for Raspberry Pi

Development specialist element14 has unveiled an exclusive global availability of the new BitScope Blade range, offering the ability to conveniently power and mount multiple Raspberry Pi's. BitScope Blades are designed for building scalable computing solutions ranging from stand-alone servers, routers and workstations up to full compute clusters, private clouds, networked physical computing and Industrial IoT systems. Every Blade can be used with simple plug packs, 12V batteries, solar power systems, low cost uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and even passive power over Ethernet (PoE) solutions to up 48V. They may be used individually on the desktop, wall mounted or multiple Blades may be installed in racks for large scale deployment. Blades offer full access to Raspberry Pi I/O for displays, cameras, keyboards, expansion boards and peripherals including BitScopes, Raspberry Pi HATs and the Raspberry Pi 17,8cm Touchscreen Display. BitScope Blade is available in three editions based upon the number of Raspberry Pi boards mounted:

  • BitScope Blade Uno is a flexible power and mounting solution for one Raspberry Pi computer and optional HAT. It is the perfect computing platform for makers, students and engineers using the Raspberry Pi.
  • BitScope Blade Duo is a desktop, rack or wall mountable power and mounting solution for a pair of Raspberry Pi computers, ideal for building a reliable stand-alone desktop & server system with the Raspberry Pi.
  • BitScope Blade Quattro is a desktop, rack or wall mountable power and mounting solution for four Raspberry Pi computers, ideal for creating compute clusters, private clouds or build farms with the Raspberry Pi.

Claire Doyle, Global Head of Raspberry Pi and Single Board Computing for element14, said: "The BitScope Blade is a really exciting addition to our ecosystem of Raspberry Pi accessories as it increases potential to use the Raspberry Pi within new applications as well as providing power reliability required for industrial use. We work with an increasing number of start-ups designing-in the Raspberry Pi for commercial and industrial use. This new product has the potential to create a step-change in opportunities within the industrial sector, and facilitate a revolution in the use of single board computers within industry."

Bruce Tulloch, CEO of BitScope Designs, said: "iur experience working with hundreds industrial customers using BitScope with Raspberry Pi demonstrated the key problem most of them faced was finding a cost effective, reliable and scalable power and mounting solution for Raspberry Pi and its accessories. BitScope Blade is our solution, customised specifically to the needs of our industrial, commercial and educational customers."

The product, which is expected to appeal to professional engineers, students and hobbyists as a solution to broaden industrial design applications for Raspberry Pi, is available in the EMEA region through element14 offices in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Avnet appoints Nigel Ward to lead Avnet Abacus

Avnet Abacus, the interconnect, passive, electro-mechanical and power BU of American distributor Avnet, has appointed Nigel Ward as president of Avnet Abacus. He replaces Graham McBeth who takes on a new role as president of Premier Farnell, a global distributor of electronic components that utilises a digital platform to provide innovators and engineers with the latest products, services and development software, and which was recently acquired by Avnet. Ward's career within Avnet spans almost three decades. Since the acquisition of Abacus in 2009, he has been at the helm of the Avnet Abacus and Avnet Silica businesses in the UK, with additional responsibility as regional vice president for Avnet Silica in Northern Europe. For the past two years, he has also headed up Avnet Silica's lighting business across EMEA, driving a significant increase in its footprint in key lighting markets. Ward's deep knowledge of the volume distribution sector, and tenured experience within Avnet, positions him well as the natural successor to lead Avnet Abacus in a dynamically changing market environment.

Miguel Fernandez, president of Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA, said: "Nigel brings excellent leadership skills to our executive team, and is a strong motivating force within the company. His strong experience at Avnet will ensure a seamless changeover of senior management at Avnet Abacus and secure the continued high levels of service to our customers and partners achieved under Graham. We wish both Graham and Nigel every success in their new roles."

"Since the inception of Avnet Abacus in 2009, and during his time as president, Graham developed the company into one of the most well-respected IP&E business in Europe, with a solid product portfolio, strong technical skills and local support", said Ward. "We have worked closely together over the past seven years and I intend to build upon his legacy to guide our teams to continued growth and success."

Ward is succeeded in his previous role by Chris Shipway, who has been with the company for almost 20 years serving as country director and most recently as marketing director for Avnet Silica UK and Ireland.

Element14 becomes first distributor to offer e-delivery for Matlab and Simulink Student Suite

element14, the Development Distributor, has added MATLAB and Simulink Student Suite from MathWorks to its range of software tools available by instant e-delivery. e-delivery is available to customers via all channels - including online, call centres and field sales, meaning that engineers no longer need to wait to be able to benefit from their purchases and can "get to work" instantly. The MATLAB and Simulink Student Suite is comprised of MATLAB, Simulink and 10 add-on products that can be used for applications related to controls, signal analysis, test, measurements and more. The pack also includes a Quick Start Guide to help users get building something fun straight away – from a temperature display to a face detection system.

Key Features:

  • Model hierarchical subsystems with predefined library blocks
  • Simulate the dynamic behavior of your system and view results as the simulation runs
  • View simulation results and debug the simulation
  • Simulink has built-in support for prototyping, testing, and running models on Arduino, LEGO MINDSTORMS, and Raspberry Pi.
  • MATLAB Mobile lets you access MATLAB from your mobile device.
  • Student software runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

"Offering an ever increasing portfolio of engineering software for immediate electronic delivery demonstrates element14's commitment to the customer. Engineers no longer have to wait days for their software to arrive at their desk", said Peter Wenzel, Global Software Product Line Manager. "Being the first channel partner to offer the MATLAB & Simulink Student Suite product line via eDelivery extends our portfolio of products available for eDelivery securing our position as the destination for engineering software."

MathWorks MATLAB and Simulink Student Suite are available from Farnell element14 in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Avnet appoints Graham McBeth as President of Premier Farnell

American multispecialist Avnet has promoted Graham McBeth to the role of president of Premier Farnell. McBeth will report directly to Gerry Fay, president, global business units, Avnet. In his new role, McBeth will be responsible for the strategic direction, day-to-day operations and performance of Premier Farnell. McBeth, who most recently served as President of Avnet Abacus, the Avnet business specializing in interconnect, passive and electromechanical (IP&E) products throughout Europe, replaces Premier Farnell's interim President Steven Webb. Webb, a 16-year veteran of Premier Farnell, has played an integral role during the last several months in overseeing Premier Farnell's integration into the Avnet organization. He will remain with the company until January 31, 2017, to assist in the leadership transition. "Graham is an accomplished leader who knows how to win in the market. With his strong commitment to team building, Graham grew the Avnet Abacus division into one of the most well-respected IP&E businesses in Europe", said Fay. "His deep understanding of Avnet’s global business will enable Graham to serve as a great bridge for the Premier Farnell team, its customers and suppliers."

"Since Avnet first announced its intent to acquire Premier Farnell, I recognized what a tremendous opportunity this would be to advance Avnet’s strategy of providing customers with a differentiated digital experience throughout the entire product lifecycle", said McBeth. "This is the start of an exciting new chapter for both Avnet and Premier Farnell and I am thrilled to have the chance to help drive further success for our organization and our design and supply chain partners." A native of Scotland, McBeth is a results-oriented leader with extensive industry experience. He graduated from Glasgow University in 1984 and spent 11 years at National Semiconductor in a variety of roles, from product marketing to distribution and sales management. McBeth joined Abacus Group Plc in 1995, was appointed to the main board as technical director in 1997, and later became group managing director of Abacus with responsibility for the company's sales and marketing strategy. In 2009, following the acquisition of Abacus Group by Avnet, McBeth became president of Avnet Abacus and led the IP&E specialist to a top position in the European market.


Farnell element14 Ltd

Farnell element14 Ltd
Canal Road
LS12 2TU Leeds
United Kingdom
Phone : +44 (0)113 279 0101
Fax : +44 (0)113 263 3411
Website :


CEO : Mr Graham McBeth (*** ****** ********)
General manager : Mr Phil Gee (*** ****** *****)
General manager : Mr Neil Moorby (*** ****** ********)
CFO : Mrs Rachael Nowell (*** ****** ********)
Sales manager : Mr Phil Gee (*** ****** *****)
Sales manager : Mrs Tracey Senior (*** ****** ********)
Purchase director or manager : Mr David Beck (*** ****** ******)


Creation year : 1939
Company registration number : 4276540
Annual turnover
2015 : 1 246,03 M€
2014 : 1 191,24 M€
2013 : 1 140,05 M€
2012 : 1 165,31 M€
2011 : 1 121,45 M€
Export : Bulgaria , Czechia , Estonia , Hungary , Israel , Latvia , Lithuania , Poland , Romania , Russia , Slovakia , Slovenia , Turkey
Specialist : Industrial computing, semiconductors and electronic components
Main brands : AMD, Broadcom (Avago), Intel, Raspberry Pi, Vishay
Clients : Associations, consultants, dealers, e-commerce, industrials, mail-order resellers, outlets, service providers, software developers, software editors, specialized resellers, systems integrators, traders, VAR
Employees : 4500 people