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Ekaterra (Unilever Lipton Teas)

Brooke Bond & Company was founded by Arthur Brooke, who was born at 6 George Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, in 1845. In 1869, he opened his first teahouse at 23 Market Street, Manchester, Brooke chose the business name because it was his ‘bond’ to his customers to provide quality teas, hence Brooke Bond. The current factory was purpose built in Trafford Park, Manchester and opened in 1922 and has remained at the forefront of tea bag production in the UK ever since.

Lipton Teas and Infusions is an American-British private company based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, that produces tea and other herbal drinks. It was formed in 2021 as a distinct division within Unilever as part of a plan to divest the majority of its tea-making business and was initially named Ekaterra. 

project details

location Trafford Park duration 12 weeks value £130,000 size 30,000 square metres

the brief

To survey, design and install a new structured cabling system on a phased working basis with minimal end user downtime. Communication services to some 200 office staff and 24-hour shop floor production and distribution lines had to be maintained and therefore any new systems had to reside temporarily with the old.

the solution

Digitech were approached by Ekaterra IT services to conduct a thorough survey of the existing infrastructure and to propose, a new infrastructure solution, based on a “phased in” process of change throughout the entire site and supporting 300 employees and production lines.

The proposed solution was for the removal of the existing, legacy category 5 and 5e, copper infrastructure together with OM1/OM2 fibre optic backbone wiring systems and the replacement with an Excel Category 6 Ethernet solution. Given the vast footprint of the plant and several remote communications rooms a backbone system of 12 core OM4 fibre optic cables were also installed to allow a 10Gb backhaul service to each area.  Existing risers and communication cabinet locations were maintained, while new passive cabinets and additional containment were deployed to provide the new termination locations for the new cabling. Operating on a shift pattern of days, nights and weekend working, an agreed removal and refit of systems was undertaken on an agreed, area by area basis.

Upon completion all redundant cabling and legacy equipment was stripped out and removed form site leaving a complete network refresh of the site.

‘No client or production down-time’ was the governing factor for the success of this project and it was therefore imperative that each area worked was re-cabled, tested, labelled and ‘activated’ and fit for use by client employees the following morning. 

Through close client liaison, frequent debrief meetings and well-founded project management principles, the project was delivered on time, and with no client/end user or production downtime or ‘next day issues.

IT Manager Carole Sampson commented:

‘Digitech were indeed a ‘no hassle contractor’ they worked completely to an agreed schedule and the best testament of all is that our employees were unaware of any change process throughout the entire 12-week schedule.

“From full turn-key solutions to simple network advice & consultation, Digitech continue to deliver a professional service for GE, our customer’s & the patients we serve.”

Haydn Rowland, Implementation & Process Leader UKI, GE HealthCare