How does Santa manage incredible production uptime – A case study of oil analysis success.

049c5dea 1d13 45b6 ae4f cea2b133f740l0001 img 4490.png How does Santa manage incredible production uptime A case study of oil analysis success.It’s nearly Christmas, and we are all getting excited about the arrival of Santa. Every year he manages to make a miraculous trip around the world delivering presents to billions of children.

Have you ever wondered why he has managed to never miss Christmas especially with the milage he gets on his sleigh without it breaking down? Equally, his toy production line has huge spikes in demand from no requirement for 11 months of the year to a barrage of orders in the form of letters from children during the month of December. It’s not only a miracle how he manages to get round the world so fast, but maintenance wise how he has never had an unplanned downtime of production?

The reason is Santa uses oil and fluid analysis to plan his maintenance activities during the other 364 days of the year, so on the one day it matters his sleigh and toy factory works. Let’s look at some of the problems he faces and how he addresses them.

Long periods of standing equipment

When it comes to present manufacture, letters from children don’t usually start reaching the north pole until December so long standing periods on the conveyor lines puts a lot of pressure on the lubricants. The only thing preventing metal to metal contact is boundary lubrication, which is the protective layer formed by additives and wear metals during the wear in process. The natural breathing of the gearboxes leads to water and dirt ingress over time, which leads to corrosion.

Santa avoids problems by before starting the production line he takes samples to confirm the condition of the lubricant, being mindful to drain off any debris and water collected at the bottom of the sump before sampling. He also follows up with a sample shortly after startup to establish the lubricant condition at operating conditions.

Cold Temperatures

Santa understands the importance of choosing the right lubricant for the job, designed not only for the machinery but the operating conditions too. One of the key factors Santa reviews when comparing lubricants is cloud point and pour point properties for which he sends a sample of the new barrel for analysis whenever he changes lube providers. Additionally, when he does change providers he also sends a sample for a seal/elastomer swell testing to confirm the seals are not affected by the lubricant changeover.

Bulk storage of reindeer fuel (carrot juice)

The main fuels we are used to are usually diesel or petrol (gasoline), but because of the unique Reindeer powered freight transport system Santa uses he has to bulk store tankers and tankers of carrot juice.

Not only does Santa have the problem of ensuring he obtains winter blends for the improved cold filter plugging point properties of the fuel, but the bulk storage can also be prone to contamination from general tank breathing. In this case Santa collects biannually a top, middle and bottom sample of fuel to assess the condition.


Santa as you know has a workforce that is predominantly made up of elves. This is a very seasonal requirement and as most will know the problems with seasonal workforces is the that it can be hard to retain staff after the seasonal work ends and skilled employees may be lost when more full time work comes along elsewhere. That is why Santa has incentivised his workforce with regular skill building sessions including our Lubrication Essentials training courses and introducing a reliability centred culture. Clearly this is working as the Elves keep coming back to work for Santa each year. Whilst using the regular analysis programme there has not been a failure at Christmas for Santa meaning children across the world are not disappointed.

If you want to find out more about how you could take a leap out of Santas book and improve your machinery reliability and save money then click the contact us icon on the bottom right of this screen.

This story was inspired by the magic of Christmas for my son Harry to read when he is old enough to ask how does Santa not fail to deliver at Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year.