Ice Production Technology

Ice production technology

Ice is used in many catering establishments: in the kitchen, in product presentation, in numerous bars, in cocktails, and for many other things. Not all ice used in catering establishments and bars is the same. You may have noticed that different types of ice vary in shape and size. But why does this happen? By what parameters should you choose the type of ice and, accordingly, the ice blocks maker? Knowing the application area of each type of ice can help you narrow down your search for the needs that are needed for your business opportunities to succeed.

Ice storage and handling

Ice is removed from the ice maker using a special scoop (usually included with the ice maker). Do not pick up ice with your hands, a glass, or other types of kitchen utensils. Cocktail ice (cube, crescent, granule) is placed in a special container or ice bucket. You can get it out of there with tongs, and ice scoops. As a rule, ice is not stored for a long time and is used for its intended purpose immediately after its successful production with the help of a multifunctional ice generator, a wide range of which is presented by the BF Tech company. Ice is a part of your successful business, whether you sell drinks or present ready meals and products. Whether it’s your restaurant, supermarket, convenience store, or bar, choose the type of ice that suits you best.

How to choose an ice maker?

We recommend that you pay attention to performance when choosing. When you buy an ice maker for home use, a model with a capacity of 12 to 15 kilograms of ice per day is sufficient. When you need a professional ice maker (for example, for use in small cafes and restaurants), you should look for more productive devices (with daily productivity of 20-50 kilograms of ice). Industrial ice makers are considered the most efficient and can produce hundreds of kilograms of ice. Some models can be placed on the floor, some models can be placed on the table. But here it should be understood that the last option is more compact. However, high performance should not be expected from the last option. This option is ideal for use at home or in small cafes and bars. There are devices in which you need to supply water yourself, fill the container with water, and devices with a central water supply. The last option is much more productive. It is more suitable for catering establishments, supermarkets, hypermarkets, and the food industry. When you plan to use ice to cool a drink, the first thing you should pay attention to is the ice generator (some models can make ice in the form of pyramids or ice cubes). When you use ice to chill and preserve food (such as fish or meat), you’ll need an ice machine.

How to make ice?

A technological refrigerating plant (ice generators) is used for the mass production of this product. The equipment depends on the type of ice drum (production of flake ice) and auger (production of crushed ice). During the operation of the drum ice generator, the pump enters the collector. The water is then sprayed from a rotating drum. It is cooled by an evaporative cooler inside. Thin ice formations form on the outside of the drum. Then the knives simply cut them and the finished ice grains are thrown into the funnel through the outlet. During the operation of screw systems, water flows by gravity inside the evaporator cylinder. The walls are cooled by a heat carrier, which contributes to the formation of cold layers. Ice is collected by an auger and transferred to the upper part of the cylinder. There, it is additionally pressed and frozen, cut into pieces, and then thrown into a special container.

Comparison of ice types

Each type of ice has its purpose. One type of ice is actively used and manufactured with the key purpose of cooling drinks, another type of ice is used for product display, and another type of ice is added by the bartender to cocktails to champagne glasses. Due to different characteristics, one type of ice is better suited for a specific task than another. Different types of ice have different properties that arise during their production: shape, temperature, ice-water ratio, and size. Another feature of ice is that it is transparent. You can get clear and opaque ice from the ice maker’s tap water. Due to the presence of air bubbles, the density of opaque ice is lower than that of transparent ice. Opaque ice has a whitish color due to the presence of impurities in the form of air and salts. Transparent ice is obtained by additional filtering of impurities and air. There is an opinion that cracks in ice cubes occur due to a malfunction of the ice maker. It is not true. When water freezes, the temperature drops, and ice particles experience very high internal stresses due to the process of freezing and turning water into ice (some parts expand, others contract). This creates small cracks in the ice. This is called the “character” of the ice.

Types of ice available

Conventionally, ice can be divided into two types: flake and granulated (shredded). The first type is characterized by a rather low temperature from -6° to -12°С, with a thickness of 1-2 mm. The low temperature provides a quick and intense cooling effect. The contact surface with chilled products is very wide. Therefore, it is ideal for the long-term cooling of large-sized products. The second type is characterized by a temperature of up to -0.5 °C. Ideal for heat exchange processes. This type can release enough cold force to provide effective cooling. An ice maker is a special device for preparing the ice, which is added to various cold drinks and refreshes meat, fish, and various seafood products that are on store shelves. Clean tap and bottled water is used to make high-quality ice. Ice generators are different, they differ in the cooling system used. There are air and water systems. Most often, the ice maker is used in stores, many of which use non-refrigerated display cases. Non-refrigerated showcases do not require electricity, take up less space, and are therefore much more economical than refrigerators. Also, products placed on ice are more attractive to the customer. 

An ice maker produces ice for such beautiful display cases. For a beautiful and effective serving, ice is laid out in an even layer, to achieve this result, all ice cubes must be the same in thickness, shape, and size. Fresh products, meat, or fish are very tasty against the background of white ice, attracting customers with their delicious appearance. The temperature of the ice made with the ice maker can reach the preset temperature because only the ice maker can supercool the water to low temperatures. Based on this, it is much more profitable to have an ice machine in the store and not rely on a refrigerator. Water-cooled ice machines are faster and more compact, but more expensive than air-cooled ones. The advantage of a water-cooled ice maker is that it can be placed against a wall, for example, on a counter in a store. 

These ice makers consume 3-4 times more water but save 10% of electricity. They also need an extra hose. In hot weather, they work more stably, unlike other devices. An air-cooled ice maker is required when constant water pressure is not available or water flow is limited. Such devices have the function of adjusting the parameters of the cooling system depending on the ambient air temperature. Ice makers also differ in whether they are equipped with a built-in or external cooling unit. The integrated unit is always inside the device. Such a model must be installed further from the wall to ensure free air circulation. Also, the fact that the released heat affects the microclimate in the room. Ice generators can be installed both with and without a water source. There are models of ice generators of the filling type, they do not require a connection to the water supply, and cold water is simply poured into a special container. The productivity of such machines is not particularly high, so it is quite suitable for small enterprises of cafes and bars.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.