Choosing the Right Ice Machine
There has been a lot of innovation in ice machine design in recent years to make them more water and energy efficient, easier to clean and maintain, and simpler to service. Believe it or not, there are a lot of important considerations when deciding what type of ice machine to buy. Some factors include deciding what type of ice best suits your application, the location of your machine, the mechanics of the machine (i.e., water-cooled or air-cooled), whether or not to install a water filter with your machine, and even the level of technology needed. With over 30 years of experience selling and servicing ice machines, ProTemp can help you understand the benefits of all these different options and make sure you get exactly what you need.
Water and Electrical Efficiency
If rising water and electrical costs are something that concern you, we encourage you to look into some of the more efficient models. Ask us which ice makers can help you save money on water and electricity, or check out the US Government’s Energy Star website for a list of models that have been rated energy-efficient. These ice machines are 15% more energy-efficient and 10% more water efficient, and are generally comparable in price to machines that didn’t make the efficiency cut. The State of Michigan offers rebates for upgrading your equipment, and we can help you take advantage of these rebates with a free energy assessment.
Styles of Ice
The style of ice cube you want your machine to produce will be a major factor in determining which type of machine to buy. There are six different standard styles of ice; cubes, half cubes or dice, flakes, nuggets, crescents, and gourmet cubes. Cubes, also called “dice,” are ideal for sodas, mixed drinks and ice dispensing because they have high cooling power and slow melting rate. Half cubes are considered the most versatile and therefore used frequently by convenience stores and restaurants, and have similar properties as the full cube. Flakes are mostly used to keep food chilled in a buffet or grocery display, and sometimes in healthcare to keep medicines and other bio materials cold, but not ideal for drinks because they melt quickly. Nuggets have become extremely popular in the last several years because they are sort of porous, which makes them crunchy and optimal for eating. They come out smaller and less uniform than cubes allowing you to pack a glass full and save money on soda. But if you offer free refills, nuggets are probably not the best option because they melt faster than cubes and crescents. Crescents are essentially half cubes with one curved edge, making them easier to pack into a cup. Gourmet style ice, also called “top hats,” can come in a cylindrical form or an octagonal form and are a bit larger than a standard cube, providing a slower melting rate. You’ll need fewer cubes to keep a drink cold, making for a cleaner, fancier look.
Seemingly minor innovations in ice machine design have made them much easier to maintain. For example, if you look at inside the ice storage area of the machine, you’ll notice that some machines have more beveled corners than others, making them easier to wipe clean. Certain materials used in the making of ice machine components these days can actually reduce bacteria, algae and mold growth and mitigate slime. Technological advancements have also helped in making ice machines easier to maintain. Some machines come with temperature and humidity monitors, either with indicator lights or digital displays. Some machines will even alert you via smartphone if something goes wrong and tell you what the problem is, or notify you when you’re due for PM or cleaning. Manufacturers have even been addressing the noisiness of ice machines, adding sound dampeners and quieter mechanics.
Our Ice Machines
We carry a wide variety of ice machines, and can help you determine which one best suits your needs.