It's hard to think of a restaurant that doesn't offer or can produce its own ice. If you plan to open your own store, it is essential that you have an ice maker that suits your needs. Due to the different types of configurations and styles available, it is important that you take into account all possible aspects to choose the best machine on the market. If you are not sure how many types of ice machine there are or the different formats of ice, don't worry, here you will find a guide that may be useful:
Overview of Ice Makers
Machinery that is capable of bringing water to its freezing point; they work on the foundation of the Carnot cycle.
The Carnot cycle consists of the transfer of heat energy from a refrigeration chamber to the environment or outside, using a series of conduits with a gas, which raises its temperature by compressing it outside the chamber, making it possible to dissipate heat to the outside environment. While once cooled, the compressed gas is returned to an expansion chamber located inside the refrigeration zone, and as its temperature drops, it absorbs heat energy from the chamber, cooling it.
What types of ice machines are there?
There are three main types to consider:
- Modular ice maker - This type is the most basic out there. It requires to be placed on a container (bins) or a soft drink machine, so that the ice it makes is stored there.
- Bar ice maker: a small piece of equipment ideal to have under the bar of your restaurant. In this machine you can store it and make use of it whenever you need it.
- Dispensing Ice Machine - The most common type that you are probably already familiar with. They can make different types of ice and dispense water. Ideal to always have it at hand.
What types of ice are there?
Knowing the different types of ice and their functions will make it easier for you to choose your ice maker:
- Ice cubes: undoubtedly the most used type of ice in the world. And this is for good reason: Unlike other types, cubed ice lasts longer in a solid state so it will keep drinks cold. Its use is essential in the restaurant bar, since all drinks "on the rocks" are served with buckets.
- Crushed ice: a type of ice that cannot be absent in summer. With it you can prepare slushies, cocktails and they will give the perfect touch and consistency to your drinks based on fruit juice. It never completely freezes, so it's ready to use the moment you need it, without the need for an extra tool to crush it.
- Flake ice : this ice is the one you will use if you want to preserve the freshness of food, especially if you need to put it on display. The properties of the flakes prevent the ice from burning the tissues of meats and other foods, so it will be essential that you have a little with the reserves of your refrigerator. Although the customer will never see this ice in your restaurant, they will notice the quality and freshness of the food that you put on their plate.
Applications of ice machines
Maintenance of food products, in chemical, experimental and pharmaceutical laboratories, in tissue conservation, in beverage production, etc.
Ice machines are classified according to the type of ice they produce:
Block ice : It makes the ice, by using molds that are immersed in water with salt or calcium chloride (brine) while in motion, the time of ice making it takes between 8 and 24 hours.
Quick-build block ice: The principle of operation is very similar to the previous one, however, it uses tubes where refrigerant circulates.
Flake ice : Forms ice 2 to 3 mm thick, on the surface of a cold cylinder.
Tube ice: It forms on the internal surface of vertical tubes, generally reaching a thickness of 50 mm and having the shape of hollow cylinders.
Plate ice:For this type of ice, plates are used, in which ice is formed on one of the faces.
Melting ice: The machinery is known as a scraped surface heat exchanger, and it works through the use of concentric cylinders, inside which ice is formed and then a screw is passed to scrape the ice, the crystals are then mixed with water and they form a type of "dry ice".
Now that you know this information, the only thing you need to do before purchasing an ice machine is to take a look at your store, analyze the available space vs. that required by the new machinery, the needs of your kitchen and the preferences of your customers when placing orders. A good ice maker will be a great complement to the service of your restaurant and that will be reflected in the satisfaction of your customers.