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We recently received a telephone call from Santa in a bit of pickle. You see, lockdown restrictions don’t just apply in the UK. Up in the North Pole, Santa has also found it difficult to carry out his operations amid the disruptions of 2020.
Around this time of year, Santa would normally be busy in his workshop, supervising the elves and making sure all the toys were in perfect condition ready for delivery on 25th December. Aside from this, he would also be working with his senior elf management team, experimenting with new ideas to improve work tools and to streamline the production line in the run-up to Christmas. But this year, alas, his workshop was forced to close and he was left searching for alternative business support.
Luckily, STEAMhouse was able to lend Santa a helping hand with a number of operations, from admin to assembly, and everything in between. The PORTAL, MAKER BOXES, and BUREAU services were a lifesaver for keeping the toy-making going – but also for driving new innovations – all while keeping Santa’s elf workforce safe and working from home.
STEAMhouse PORTAL – for online learning
Using the new PORTAL online learning platform, specially designed to support members remotely during the pandemic, Santa was able to book meeting time with STEAMhouse’s in-house business support consultants and skilled technicians. He was also able to join a like-minded community for regular virtual events and courses, which helped him make the most of his brand-new subscription to MAKER BOXES.
STEAMhouse MAKER BOXES – for practical skills and prototype development
As part of STEAMhouse’s remote support programme, the tech team has built specialised member tool kits to help across each discipline, for instance woodwork, textiles, digital and more.
Woodwork Box: Not only had Santa been putting off repairing his sleigh, but at the back of his mind, he knew it was time to innovate. With an introduction to lamination, and guidance from STEAMhouse’s resident wood technician Jan, Santa was able to completely overhaul and remodel his sleigh. Next year, using his newfound skills, Santa is planning to experiment using different materials such as metal. The box also helped Santa make a number of design improvements to some of his more traditional toys in need of an update.
Moulding box: Once Santa had decided on the modifications needed, using this box he was able to put his creativity into practice and completely remould new components for his sleigh – as well as new toys – according to his own design specifications.
Bio Lab Box: Sustainability is top of mind for Santa, so he loved receiving his Bio Lab Box, which enabled him to experiment with natural ingredients, and to develop and test his new bio-degradable wrapping paper. Santa also took part in his first STEAMhouse ‘Materials Club’, in which up to 20 members meet each month to discuss material exploration, as well as developing new materials using abundant waste streams and natural resources.
Electronics Box: Before joining STEAMhouse, Santa’s electronics skills consisted of changing the bulb in his lantern. But he knew that one day, developing a state-of-the-art light system for his sleigh would help his reindeer navigate their route much faster. An introduction to programmable electronics turned Santa’s vision into a reality and taught him the skills he needed to implement a brand-new environmentally friendly smart lighting system to help guide the way.
Fusion 360 Box: Experimenting with different materials (wood, paper, smart lights) was a great start, but Santa needed a way of designing the prototypes in order to get them into production. This box provided Santa and his tech-savvy elves access to a cloud-based platform in which they could hone their skills in CAD, CAE and CAM (Computer Aided Design, Engineering and Manufacture).
XR Box: This was without doubt the most exciting box for Santa, as he got to experience a virtual round-the-world tour – without his feet leaving the ground. With an introduction to photogrammetry, Santa was able to make use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies to refresh his memory of the route before the big “eve”, something he could only have dreamed of back in the North Pole.
With STEAMhouse BUREAU, Christmas is a wrap
With all of this newly gained knowledge and motivation, there was only one thing left for Santa to do, and that was to get all of his ideas into production before Christmas. The STEAMhouse BUREAU service is a new prototyping and production service to help those who can’t make use of their normal workspace during the pandemic. Within minutes, Santa was able to submit his files via a ticket system, including specifications for method, size, colour etc. The Bureau’s fully automated system then tracked the progress of Santa’s festive projects and generated regular status updates to keep him informed. Once machined, Santa’s new products were sanitised and delivered straight to his door.
Within six weeks, Santa learned new skills, consulted with technicians and fellow learners, experimented with new materials, tapped into various design methods and modelling technology to develop a range of prototypes, and received his finished products.
Santa now has enough knowledge across the entire operation to supervise his elves, maintain high levels of productivity – and even drive innovation – to ensure every last present is delivered on time.
But it doesn’t end there. Santa is so excited that he’s already registered for next year, when he’ll be back exploring new technologies to create a whole new range of smart toys for children across the world.
To find out more about how the STEAMhouse PORTAL, MAKER BOXES and BUREAU services could benefit your business during the pandemic, get in touch with the STEAMhouse team today.