In just 11 months, team members from Haskell’s facilities, process and packaging teams transformed a vacant, 50-plus-year-old warehouse in Plainfield, Illinois, into an operational facility featuring two high-speed can lines.

March 29, 2022

Diageo Needed Speed to Market, and Haskell’s Teams Delivered

In just 11 months, Haskell turned an old warehouse into a facility capable of producing 25 million cases of canned Ready-to-Drink (RTD) products per year.


Speed to the market is considered one of the advantages of integrated project delivery, but what Haskell’s project team accomplished at Diageo’s Project Helix was the industrial facility equivalent of supersonic.

In just nine months, team members from Haskell’s facilities, process and packaging teams transformed a vacant, 75-plus-year-old warehouse in Plainfield, Illinois, into an operational facility, named Lincolnway, that features two high-speed can lines capable of producing 25 million cases of malted-based beverages and spirits-based Ready-to-Drink (RTD) products per year.

“This project should have been scheduled to take place over a grand total of 24 months,” said Don Kartzmark, Vice President and Beverage Division Leader in Haskell’s Consumer Packaged Goods Group. “To be able to get two lines designed, bought, fabricated, installed and up-and-running in, basically, 11 months from nothing is unheard of. It's just not done.

”We were executing the project during a global pandemic creating supply chain disruptions in a building that’s 75 years old and has more problems than you can count. Just about every possible obstacle or hurdle was in our way, and we were able to jump over them anyway.”

A longer project lifecycle would have allowed a more elegant, better designed and less expensive project, but in this case, velocity trumped elegance.

“Diageo had a speed-to-market issue,” Kartzmark said. “They had to get this done quickly for various internal and market-driven reasons. Haskell and Diageo have done other projects together where we didn’t have these issues, and we anticipate doing projects with Diageo in the future where we'll have a more normalized schedule.”

In this case, though, it was all about the need for speed. Haskell’s facility team had to create virtually all necessary infrastructure.

“We’re incredibly proud of the speed and innovative approach from our team and partners in their efforts to build this site in record time,” said Michael Nelson, Senior VP of Manufacturing and Distillation at Diageo North America. Diageo Lincolnway will be instrumental in accelerating our offerings in the convenience space and help meet consumer demand.”

Workarounds were often the rule rather than the exception. On site, the project featured a temporary power plant, a temporary wastewater treatment system and temporary CO2 and nitrogen systems. Because the structure couldn’t support the piping being installed, the project had to include approximately $8 million in pipe rack steel structures.

“That adds one more level of complexity to it, and if they ever want to expand, additional steel pipe supports will be needed,” Kartzmark said. “It works very well and both lines are producing better than expected. It's going to produce plenty of product, and it's got them the speed to market they were after.”

The project advanced so quickly, and so many aspects of it were conducted concurrently, that the successful performance guarantee test for the first of two lines was accomplished in the same week that the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contract amendment was executed.

The art and science that go into creating a production line came down to what could be done quickly enough to achieve the client’s goals. Haskell’s teams focused on using only vendors that could deliver on the accelerated schedule. It procured two refurbished fillers, because new ones could not be built fast enough, designed the lines around those and began integrating equipment while design was still underway.

“We started procuring the equipment in parallel with the design. Everything was happening simultaneously to meet the given deadline” said Hector Uribe, Haskell Packaging Integration Manager. “The team continued working through the design details and to mitigate any gaps transitioning into the construction phase, we assigned members of the design team to be onsite supporting the construction manager. This handshake between design to construction helped keep things going. Those things combined put us in a better position during the startup and commissioning.”

Line 22 was the first to pass its performance guarantee test, producing 1,200 cans per minute (CPM), and Packaging Integration Manager Hector Uribe said his team followed that accomplishment by meeting its stretch goal for sellable product on Line 21, which will turn out 500 CPM. Products will include Ranch Water seltzers and newly launched spirits-based cocktails from Whisky & Cola, Whisky Lemonade, Peach Tea, and Washington Apple.

Already a trusted partner, Haskell’s performance only deepened its relationship with Diageo.

When Line 21 met its first sellable product date and both lines were in production, Pietro Di Pilato, Diageo’s Senior Vice President Technical, Governance, Innovation and Brand Change said, “To deliver this project in 11 months, when many in and outside of Diageo told me it would take at least 18 months, and more likely 24 months, while navigating through the COVID challenges is truly remarkable.”

Contact Haskell’s industry-leading Manufacturing Solutions team to discuss the speed to market and other competitive advantages possible on your next facility project.

Haskell delivers more than $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,300 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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