CHICAGO — Most ice machines are mounted atop a bin or beverage dispenser, and gravity brings the cubes to their appointed place. But one of the technological twists talked about at the recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) expo here involved the horizontal movement of ice from machine to bin.

The talk was at the booth of IMI Cornelius (Anoka, Minn.). A prototype under-counter drink unit was shown that, in its present form, was top loaded manually with ice that drops into a bin. When the ice dispense lever is activated, the ice is augered up. The unit uses a cold plate system that can be serviced from the front.

Additional talk centered on the possibility of adding an icemaker next to the bin with a means to move the ice horizontally into the bin. Cornelius officials were using the show to gauge user interest and consider design modifications.

A couple of other new items at the booth were a six-, eight-, or 10-valve ice drink dispenser capable of holding 200 lb of ice, and an icemaker dispenser under the Remcor name made of stainless steel and using R-404A.

Hoshizaki (Peachtree City, Ga.) featured a variety of reach-in refrigerators and freezers with various multidoor and foot pedal options.

Among its ice machines was the IM-51, a compact unit for under-counter applications, and 200- and 400-lb capacity, 22-in.-high cubers billed as being designed for applications where height is a concern. A repositioning and retooling of the evaporator was part of the redesign process to maintain ice production with less height in the total unit.

The company also highlighted its “EverCheck” diagnostic system, which provides audio and visual signals in case of high or low temperatures, high or low voltage, and other service issues.

Under-counter units were also the focus at the booth of Manitowoc (Manitowoc, Wis.). An announcement was made of a joint venture with an Italian company as a way to gain a stronger foothold in the European market, where smaller machines are especially popular.

The move also fills out an extensive line of under-counter products with a range of 60 lb to several-hundred pounds of ice production per day. The company also showed 22-in.-wide ice dispensers that employ a rocking-chute method of ice deployment.

High-tech options

Kold-Draft(Erie, Pa.) drew attention to its products’ in-line crusher, which allows one unit to offer either cubed or crushed ice. Additional attention was paid to the GT550, a 30-in.-wide ice cuber made of stainless steel with servicing from the front.

Simplicity was the theme at the booth of Ice-O-Matic (Denver). The GC1206 cube icemaker was said to have “simple-to-fix” electromechanical controls, a simple evaporator design, and components that are readily available through supply houses.

The unit’s technology negates the need for filters, the company says.

Scotsman (Vernon Hills, Ill.) showcased the CME2006, a 48-in.-wide cuber producing up to 2,000 lb of ice per day and using a scroll compressor. Also on display was the CME806, a 30-in.-wide unit with 770 lb of capacity.

Additional attention was given to what was called the AutoIQ system, designed to automatically adjust operation due to changes in water and air temperature.

Also in the rollout was the HD356 hotel ice dispenser with a 190-lb capacity, the SCE275 under-counter cuber with 300 lb of ice production, and a line of automatic ice and water dispensers.

Crystal Tips (Dallas) noted that its stainless steel units now have a reflective finish designed for aesthetic appeal. Vogt (Louisville, Ky.) featured large tube icemakers.

Follett (Easton, Pa.) showed its ice management system, which consists of bins that use gravity to dispense ice. There are a number of cart options in which the ice is dispensed into 25-lb totes that can be wheeled to various locations in a facility. Company officials said the idea is to improve sanitation and speed of delivery.

Turbo Air (Compton, Calif.) showed a line of reach-in refrigerators and freezers. Products were billed as being vertical and slim to fit into small spaces. Single-door models are 27 in. wide; double-door models are 54.4 in. wide.

Walk right in

Walk-ins were the focus at a number of booths.

Norlake (Hudson, Wis.) noted its ability to custom-create walk-in units and its ability to same-day ship some of its product line. The company also showcased its refrigerators and freezers.

Custom-built walk-in coolers and freezers were discussed by FormaKool (Chesterfield, Mich.). Products are fully assembled at the manufacturing plant before shipment, according to the company.

And Bally (Morehead City, N.C.) displayed its walk-in coolers, freezers, and refrigerated warehouses. One example was a warehouse measuring 100 ft long, 50 ft wide, and 22 ft high.

Tools, components

Making a first-time appearance at the NRA show wasCopeland(Sidney, Ohio). Shown was the “SystemPro” family of low-, medium-, and high-temperature hermetic refrigeration compressors and condensing units in 1/8- to 5-hp designs.

Also featured for refrigerated equipment were 2- to 6-hp scroll compressors and 1/4- to 5-hp semi-hermetic compressors.

Methods of measuring temperatures also came in for considerable attention.

ThermoWorks (Alpine, Utah) featured a pocket-sized, hand-held infrared meter as part of its ST Series, and its Thermapen, which is used to check internal food temperatures.

Atkins (Gainesville, Fla.) had digital thermometers and temperature recorders. The line included digital thermocouple thermometers, a system for temperature documentation, and recording thermometers.

Raytek (Santa Cruz, Calif.) focused on non-contact, infrared thermometers. One concept was called Thermalert, an online system that provides continuous temperature measurement as part of a process control loop.

DeltaTrak (Pleasanton, Calif.) highlighted two product areas: compact infrared thermometers, and Flashlink, a line of temperature and humidity dataloggers with software that is compatible with Windows® operating systems.

Cooper Instruments (Middlefield, Conn.) focused on pocket electronic thermometers, probes, alarms, and digital panel meters. On the maintenance side of things was Metro Tech Service Corp. (Schaumburg, Ill.), a national organization with service techs stationed throughout the United States. It serves some 12,000 locations, with dispatching done from the corporate office.

“Our technicians are our employees, driving our trucks, accountable to our management,” according to booth personnel. The company states that it is able to “negotiate favorable pricing with hvac parts manufacturers and distributors.”