The purpose of an ice machine may be to create ice, but when it comes to the food service industry, ice has to be pure, clean, produced by energy-efficient units of all sizes, and needs to come in all shapes. That was the task of manufacturers who showed products at the most recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago. The end result: There are a lot of different ways to achieve cleanliness, efficiency, and sizing.

Returning Melted Ice

For example, Follett Corp.’s 7 Series ice and water dispenser — which was selected as a 2013 Kitchen Innovations award recipient by the NRA — had a technology twist that allowed melted ice in the enclosed bin to return to the icemaker to be refrozen rather than drain out of the dispenser. This, the company said, allows the unit to be installed where other units cannot be while also minimizing water consumption.

Follett also showcased its Horizon ice machines, which has RIDE technology. In such cases, the ice maker can be positioned on one side of a room, with a tube running through the wall into an ice storage bin for fountain drinks. That was said to reduce the noise and heat in the dispenser area and avoid the need for employees to manually fill the dispensers.

Universal Icons

Manitowoc Ice highlighted three new products.

NEO is an all-in-one under-the-counter ice making and storage unit designed for restaurants, bars, cafés, coffee shops, stadium boxes, and offices. Similar to a Quench ice machine rental, it has a vertical evaporator, a pop-out filter that can be cleaned in a dishwasher, and a bin that can be slid forward and removed for servicing. Special attention was given to pushbuttons using icons, rather than words, to allow for more universal recognition regardless of the language of those interacting with the unit. The power indicator is interactive and illuminates once pressed so an operator can see that the machine is operating and in ice making mode; the clean button light indicates the machine is going through a clean cycle; the full bin indicator illuminates when harvested ice reaches the top of the bin; and the delay is a feature that allows an operator to set a four-, 12- or 24-hour delay in ice production. This makes it possible to better manage ice production and lower water and energy costs, the company said. After the set delay time has passed, the machine automatically resumes ice production; and the service wrench icon illuminates in red and blinks to provide advance notice of a potential problem. The machine continues to operate in a safe mode to allow time for the service technician to be contacted.

Manitowoc Ice also emphasized its Indigo units, which have intelligent diagnostics, the ability to monitor ice machine operations 24/7, a display screen, and water and energy management features. The latest models are the i906 Series, designed to replace its existing i850 Series. Ice harvest production in a 24-hour period is increased by an average of 11 percent over the previous i850 Models, the company said. Energy usage is reduced by an average of 14 percent compared to the i850 Series, it was noted.

The third highlighted product from Manitowoc Ice was nugget ice machines for applications such as carbonated beverages and blended smoothies in restaurants, cafeterias, convenience stores, and more. Manitowoc said it offers bite-sized chewable nuggets in five ice-machine sizes, and will continue to expand this line in the coming months. It was claimed that the nugget ice is a softer, chewier ice with a 90 percent ice-to-water ratio. This ensures that the beverage will not dilute quickly and remains cooler longer, the company said. Manitowoc’s ice-to-water ratio also helps mitigate congealing and snowballing issues that often occur when dispensing wetter, softer ice options, the company said.

Compact Cuber

For Scotsman Ice Machines’ C0722, a compact self-monitoring cuber that produces 700 pounds of cube ice in 24 hours, was on display.

“The C0722 enables our customers to meet ice production while saving space with its compact design,” said Rich Gleitsmann, company president. “This ice machine lowers utility costs by reducing energy and water consumption.”

The C0722 is 22 by 29 inches in size and features Auto Alert™ indicator lights that notify operators of water conditions and provide cleaning reminders. An optional ice-level control sensor can be installed to program ice levels for up to seven days to ensure the right amount of ice is made available.

A Harvest Assist

Ice-O-Matic shared information on its ICE0926 cube ice maker with a 22-inch-wide design and low profile for difficult-to-fit applications. Two technologies noted were Harvest Assist for consistent ice production for the life of the machine and Pure Ice, a built-in antimicrobial protection also for the life of the machine.

Square Cube

One of the products shown by Hoshizaki America Inc. was the IM-500SAA Square Cuber which uses jet spray techniques to wash sediment and permit a hard, individual cube. There was also a closed water plate and circuit to maintain sanitation. The resulting cubes were said to be hard and slow melting. An auto-rise system is used to endure pure, clear cubes.

Publication date: 7/8/2013

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