Enjoying a meal outside with friends or family once a week or going out for a drink with friends after office hours is on the bucket list of all of us. Have you ever wondered, how our favorite restaurant serves chilled drinks with freshly prepared ice cubes every time? Yes, the secret lies in their commercial ice machines. And to your surprise, these commercial ice machines are capable of chunking out large volumes of ice in surprisingly small duration, and some of them have freezer capabilities as well, to retain the integrity of the formed ice cubes for a very long time.
Working of a Commercial Ice Maker
There are many different types of commercial ice makers and they differ from one manufacturer to another. But all of them follow a similar working mechanism and work on the same principle.
- Water gets pumped to the unit from its rear.
- This water travels to the mold where ice is prepared. The mold is also termed as the evaporator.
- This evaporator is connected with copper coils.
- The compressor pushes the refrigerant through the copper coil
- The compressor increases the pressure of the refrigerant when the machine is turned on.
- Water that is flowing through the evaporator will start to freeze in the presence of the refrigerant and form ice cubes.
- After the cubes are formed, hot gases will be released from the bypass valve of the evaporator.
- This quickly heats the molds and separates the ice from their harvesting arm.
- The heat only helps in the separation of the ice cubes and doesn’t melt them.
- The cubes then fall in batches to the ice bin.
- From the bin, they can be either hand-scooped or dispensed, depending on the design.
- After ice is dropped, the process continues all over again, until the bin is full.
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Time Taken for Commercial Ice Machines to Make Ice
Commercial ice machines need to keep forming high-quality ice cubes frequently. When all operating conditions are normal. These machines are capable of producing 500-600 pounds of ice in 24 hours. Larger machines are capable of producing even up to 1000 pounds of ice a day. They keep making ice as they are scooped out of the bin. Few factors can affect the ice making capacity of the commercial ice machines.
1. Ice Making Cycle: A typical ice cycle is calculated as the time from when the water is pumped into the unit and the ice being dropped in the dispensing bin. Any delay in the water supply can elongate the ice making cycle and hamper the number of ice cubes being dispensed.
2. Fullness of the Dispensing Tray: The commercial ice machine keeps producing ice cubes in batches. It will keep producing ice cubes and keep dispensing them until the bin is empty. If the bin is already full, it will stop making any further ice. Thus, it is important to keep emptying the bin often to not interrupt the ice-making process.
3. External factors: External factors such as temperature and the placement of the commercial ice machine will also regulate the time taken by the commercial ice machine to produce ice.
4. Size of the machine: The duration of ice production and the quantity of ice produced depends on the size of the machine and also its operating capacity. It is natural for larger machines to chunk out larger batches of cold drinks to serve a large population at a single time.
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Applications of Commercial Ice Makers
Commercial ice makers stand vertical and tall and keep dispensing ice cubes, just like water dispensers that we commonly see. These machines are widely found in hotels, restaurants, bars, stadiums, theatres, and in other places where there is a tremendous demand for making large quantities of ice quickly.
The best part of these ice machines is that they form clear ice and not cloudy ones that we get in our refrigerators. They form pure ice that stays in its shape for a long time, even after being dispensed in the drink. An ice maker makes about 600 pounds of ice in a day, but all of them stay in their uniform shape throughout.
Ways to Get the Commercial Ice Maker to Produce More Ice
Commercial establishments are sometimes forced to make ice faster when their facility is flourishing with guests. Though the machine will work on its standard protocol, there are few things that we can do to double up the ice-making process.
1. Use the right type of water:
Water is the soul of any ice maker machine. By using pure water that is free from impurities, at the right temperature, it is possible to chunk out ice cubes quickly. Water that is rich in minerals takes time to freeze. Thus the best way is to use bland water and if possible cold water as it will propagate the ice-making process.
2. Conceal the machine:
Some establishments keep the machine exposed in the open environment, to save space in their kitchen. But this is a wrong practice. Ice makers that are kept in concealed spaces are efficient in making ice faster. Exposing them to the atmosphere can heat the internal components, thus delaying the ice-making process.
3. Regular Maintenance of the appliance:
The commercial ice maker comprises of high-quality parts and components. It is important to subject them to a thorough maintenance routine so that the internal components stay in good condition and work as intended. Any problems with the appliance should be brought to the attention of the technician and it is not a good idea to try DIY repairs on the commercial appliance.
Thus, commercial ice makers are capable of chunking out large volumes of ice to meet the needs of the business. They can produce anywhere between 100 to 1000 pounds of ice in 24 hours, depending on their size, capacity, and operational efficiency. Users can keep dispensing ice from the appliance as and when it makes to ensure a constant supply for their business.