By far the biggest, busiest, and noisiest booth at the restaurant-hotel-motel show in Chicago was the one operated by a certain St. Louis-headquartered maker of beer. The free samples flowed freely.
CHICAGO, IL — Food safety is foremost on the minds of those who run restaurants. The threat of lawyers and lawsuits, government regulations, and — perhaps most importantly — common courtesy to customers is demanding that.

At the most recent National Restaurant Association Restaur-ant-Hotel-Motel Show here, this concern was the underlying theme amidst the customary bombardment of everything-including-the-kitchen-sink displays of products and services from more than 2,000 companies and organizations.

A handful of ice machine manufacturers, representing just about the entire ice-making universe, were in the mix. Their product innovations balanced safer pro-cesses plus service benefits — and good service and maintenance are key to hygienic ice making.

Lancer Ice Link hooks a vacuum tube to any brand of icemaker and propels the ice through tubing and deposits it in ice storage bins.

Increased output

Hoshizaki America Inc.(Peachtree City, GA) showed its KM-1300N cuber with “Cycle-Saver” technology. Booth officials stated that the technology allows cubers “to produce the same amount of ice as competitive ice machines with a fewer number of cycles. This means less wear and tear on the machine.”

The company also featured “EverCheck” technology, in which a control board alerts the operator to problems by sounding an audible alarm. A service technician can then be called in. That technician can listen for a series of sounds, which will direct him or her to the area where the problem is.

Also new at the Hoshizaki booth was a glass-door reach-in unit that included balanced air distribution to all shelves.

Scotsman (Vernon Hills, IL) displayed flake/nugget icemakers with production capacity of 600 lb per day and up. The company also introduced its CM3 technology in units 22-in. wide, with capacities of 300 and 480 lb per day.

The technology discussed at the booth was the “AutoSentry,” which “monitors how much work the gear box is doing and shuts off the machine if the gear box is overworked.” The unit does restart if the problem is a minor one, such as clogged ice. But on the third shutdown (indicating a more serious problem), it stays off until service work is done.

The company is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the food service industry.

Focus on food safety

Ice-O-Matic(Denver, CO) put added emphasis on the food safety focus of the show by announcing a licensing agreement with Health-Shield Technologies to install HealthShield’s antimicrobial agents in Ice-O-Matic equipment.

The technology consists of a delivery system that provides for a “continual, slow release of silver ions, which has inherent antibacterial properties,” according to HealthShield’s Roger Freedman. “Our compound can protect treated products against bacterial incursion for the duration of their lifecycle.”

Kold-Draft (Erie, PA) talked about “pure ice without the need for water filtration.” The method makes ice horizontally. Water is pumped up into the evaporator for the ice making. Heavy mineral particles fall away and are not frozen into the ice, according to the company.

Movin' cubes

Manitowoc(Manitowoc, WI) noted what it called “QuietCube” technology. The company has been continually introducing different-size units with the technology. The most recent rollout was for 600- and 800-lb/day production units, to go along with previously introduced 1,000- and 1,400-lb units.

The company says the technology is different from the self-contained, air-cooled approach and the traditional remote method. QuietCube moves the compressor and condenser fan motor, typically to the roof of a restaurant or hotel. The approach is designed to lower the sound of an icemaker by up to 75%, according to the company.

A year ago, IMI Cornelius (Anoka, MN) used the NRA show to trial balloon an icemaker placed under a beverage dispenser. The technology is now in production.

The unit makes ice and compresses it into chunklets which are moved up a short distance, like popcorn in an air popper. The ice then flows horizontally into an auger, which moves it up into the ice dispenser next to the beverage valves.

Vogt (Louisville, KY) debuted R-22 units in the 4,500- to 8,500-lb/day production range. The VT Series is said to have low-maintenance cutter bearings.

Follett (Easton, PA) featured a bin using “Ice-Device” in a configuration that allows the first ice loaded to be the first ice dispensed into carts on wheels. Those carts are designed for the safe and clean transportation of ice to various locations in the business.

Another method of ice distribution was shown by Lancer Ice Link (Orange, CA). The company hooks a vacuum tube to any brand of icemaker and propels the ice through tubing, depositing it in ice storage bins such as those over beverage dispensers, potentially in a number of different locations.

Hussmann Coil Products’ condensing units and controls can be mounted directly to cooling units in restaurants.

Sidebar: More industry innovations

Hussmann Coil Products(Addison, IL) showed a line of commercial refrigeration equipment including air-cooled “Levitor” condensing units with an installed receiver to meet remote condenser applications.

Also shown were controls on self-contained condensing units that have horizontal scroll compressors and that can be mounted directly to cooling units within a restaurant. Those controls monitor temperature and provide printouts and tie ins to communication centers.

Booth officials of Copeland (Sidney, OH) noted that the company now has hermetic compressors using R-404A and -507 for walk-in coolers, and various packaged units ready for installation.