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Santa’s Workshop Rolls Out New Predictive Maintenance Strategy

A Christmas News Special! 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the smart home

Not a creature was stirring, not even a drone;

The sensors were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would repair….

We’re allowed to announce that Santa’s workshop has undergone some drastic changes over the past year! But fret not, this won’t affect his journey or present deliveries. If anything, they’re expected to be even more accurate and well-wrapped than ever before… 

Mrs. Claus was also in touch, noting that the increasing population is putting a severe strain on toy-output. In her spare time, Mrs. Claus likes to pore through the latest global statistics on all things tech, and was a big driver in convincing Santa that they simply must adopt an Industry 4.0 approach to work. 

This time last year we were also thrilled to announce Santa’s new journey and route, thanks to the latest IoT developments including the Cisco GPS live feed mechanisms and advanced AI mechanisms to check that the elves’ health, wellbeing and productivity are on track. 

Spreading Festive Cheer

This year has been a most unusual year for Santa and his elves, what with the global pandemic affecting families and children the world over. Santa decided that he need and his motley bunch needed to step up to the mark and ensure their toys and deliveries are absolutely top notch this year, so as not to further disappoint the children on Christmas morning.

Santa once again reached out to the team here at Davra to see how we could best optimise the workshop processes, as the Lapland production workshop had already undertaken several IoT and maintenance projects over the last couple of years. Like any smart and successful company, the St. Nicholas team were quick to jump on board the IoT train and incrementally implement small projects, which resulted in massive wins. 

However, there’s always room for improvement. This year, our key focus was on the manufacturing operations and how we could best optimise them to make sure all elves were happy, producing efficiently and not burning out, whilst minimising waste. 

How Santa Developed a Predictive Maintenance Workshop

We can guarantee that Santa has his feet up right now, gladly sipping on a specially made Finnish craft beer because his toyshop is running smooth as ice. How exactly did he get to this point? And why should you care?! 

The wonders all come down to the processes. Although predictive maintenance is used to determine when an asset is going to fall into disrepair, it is generally affected by a myriad of factors; how much is on the production line, the demand and how people interact with the machines. 

1. Determine Production Capacity

To develop smooth operations and regular asset functioning, at the beginning of the year Santa and his elves get cracking on Google Trends (along with a little bit of magic), to find out what kids will want in the coming Christmas. This can help determine how much of certain machines will be needed, which can then be alotted sensors. 

2. IoT Sensor Data

The system caters to IoT sensor data monitoring, to find out when the machines may fail by tracking their vibrations, sounds, pressure and any other factors that need to be tracked. When developing the system, we assess the correct metrics that must be analysed in find what an asset’s regular and irregular functioning looks like. Using advanced analytics such as AI and machine learning, the more data the models are fed, the smarter they become at predicting anomalies and nuanced events that shouldn’t occur. 

Sensor data can also be obtained through smart PPE and cobotic work; that is, elves working alongside smart robots that can take the weight off a physically perilous job. Wearables were developed through the use of digital twins to assess how the elves previously worked, and how such stresses could be alleviated. Factors such as the height of the production line all impacted elf capacity, so we reassessed how elves could work safely and injury-free. 

3. Alerts & Insights

The elves can safely monitor the production of toys on the various lines, checking for the percentage of defects and ensuring all equipment runs as expected. 

We built a user friendly interface that allows even the older elves to quickly respond to machine downtime, and make decisions based on what toys contained more faults than others. 

Getting to the root of the problem allows elves to figure out how best to alleviate the situation, and based on past data, how long more the machine will stay running for. 

Why Did Santa Incorporate Predictive Maintenance Practices?

With an ever-growing population, Santa was well aware of the increasing demands placed on his elves. He also understood that up until now, production was ticking along, but it wasn’t far off from an implosion, so he decided to take action! 

Now with the new system in place, every elf has a place in the workshop to get their work done efficiently and safely:

• The elves know exactly what days they need to work because the systems in place allow them to plan ahead.

• Elves can predict when a machine needs downtime, bringing in the elf engineers to do the job. 

• Predictive maintenance saves Santa money on ordering unnecessary equipment, where it is consequently left in storage. This is better for the environment due to unnecessary waste of equipment, that may not even be used. 

• Although covid hasn’t hit Lapland (one of the benefits to being so remote!), that doesn’t mean the elves haven’t deployed any Smart PPE. They are now feeling much healthier and can provide insights on their wellbeing and physical health. 

Overall, Santa and his elves are incredibly happy with their outcomes and hope to build on the bank of knowledge they now have about their operations. We’ve taken on projects of all shapes and sizes, and this one was definitely a huge eye-opener for us. When you have everyone on board, organisation-wide, moving towards the one goal, the journey seems to whizz on by! 

One moment you’re calling the maintenance folks (once again) to come and repair the water pump, and the next you’re relaxing, eating mince pies, trying to figure out how to turn that water pump into a new revenue-generating machine. If you’re excited to undertake a new IoT project, big or small like Santa here, please get in touch today!


Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO

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