The world’s biggest ice cube is oval shaped and abused most every night. It is the ice rink, which can be found in cities throughout the world. It is “home” for would-be and real-life National Hockey League players and Olympic champions.

But both in the quest for greatness or just to have fun, users hack and attack the once-smooth ice with sharp blades. Before the situation reaches the point of no return, something needs to be done to resmooth the surface.

The solution goes by the name Zamboni.

There are 6,500 Zamboni ice-resurfacing machines operating around the world. Since 1973, most of them have been equipped with a specially designed ITT Jabsco pump.

Zamboni Time!

The way a Zamboni works is that a blade first shaves the surface of the ice. Next, a horizontal screw gathers the shavings and a vertical screw propels them into the snow tank.

As the Zamboni continues over the ice, clean, hot water is fed from a wash water tank to a squeegee-like “conditioner” that smoothes the ice.

This hot water momentarily liquefies the surface of the ice along with any dirt or debris embedded in or on top of the ice surface. This dirty water is then vacuumed, filtered, and returned to the tank. A Jabsco pump performs the job of sucking up all of that water.

Installed in most Zamboni machines since 1973, the pump is a bronze-clutch-actuated, flexible impeller pump that has a single “B” groove specifically for Zamboni.

So, the next time you see a Zamboni moving onto the ice, skip the dash to the snack bar and appreciate the technology of ice conditioning.

Publication date:,/b> 04/02/2001