The answer to the question, ‘how to choose an ice machine for industrial refrigeration?’ can be confusing and intimidating, with the large variety of models and brands to choose from. Whether it is the ROI that you are targeting or efficiency and durability, it can be daunting to go wrong with your choice, especially if your business depends on it. Ask this to any cold storage owner or a frozen food company, they will tell you exactly how detrimental it can be to own the wrong ice making equipment for their business. While we can’t really decide the best choice of refrigeration for you, we can certainly tell you what you can do to ensure that your choice of an ice machine works brilliantly:
When choosing an ice machine, make sure to take into account the volume of ice that you need. It is imperative to evaluate different styles of refrigeration that are available in terms of their capacity. You would not like to be hamstrung on your business because your ice maker is not producing adequate amounts, nor would you like to suffer due to high hydro bills because your machine is producing too much ice. It is recommended to figure out your business requirements and add a 20% extra to ensure some buffer.
If your ice machine is not compatible to the plumbing mechanism or electric circuit, it can result in some major losses like undersized cubes, leaks, short circuits and not to mention failure to comply with health and safety standards for which you could be heavily penalized. You may also have to consider the placement of the drainage system as your ice maker will have to be placed near a drain to manage excessive water.
Buying the wrong type of machine
One of the biggest blunders is to end up buying a machine that serves no or little practical purpose specific to your business. Restaurants, bar counters, banquets and commercial frozen food companies require a distinct level and capacities of industrial refrigeration systems. A few common types of systems are:
- Modular ice machines:
- Designed for top of an ice machine bin (usually bought separately)
- Daily capacity between 250 and 1,000 lbs of ice
- Works great for buffets and banquet halls
- Undercounter ice machines:
- Designed to fit sizes under 40” height
- Daily capacity of about 350 lbs of ice
- Works great for bars, restaurants or hotels
- Countertop ice makers:
- Designed for countertops due to their compact size
- Can dispense water
- Daily capacity of about 400 lbs ice
- Works with smaller establishments like diners, bars and cafes
Wrong kind of compressor
Another important aspect of choosing an ice maker is selecting a unit with an appropriate compressor. There are three types of compressors to choose from: air-cooled, water-cooled and remote cooled. If you are looking for an economical choice, air-cooled compressors work the best. However, they do need a 6” clearance around their air intake and discharge areas. Water-cooled variants work best in limited spaces. The remote cooled refrigeration work well in outdoor settings and are also quieter than their other counterparts.
Care and maintenance
Skipping the water filter or descaler for your commercial ice maker will result in a more expensive repair going forward. Remember to clean your machine regularly and get rid of limescale build-up. Inspecting water systems, pipes, air filters and checking on mould or deposits must be a regular preventive measure to ensure long-lasting ROI.
Heco Limited is a one stop shop for all industrial refrigeration needs. Be it design, installation financing or energy-saving, Heco Ltd. ensures high ROI for their valuable clients.