Optional Ice Machine Accessories You Can Buy
Accordingly, add ice machine accessories to your ice maker to take full advantage of the machine’s potential. Accessories range from large-scale to small. Regardless of their size, they can make a significant difference in your operations.
Here, we examine these ice machine accessories:
- Ice storage bin
- Ice dispenser
- Remote condensing unit
- Ice scoop
Our first look will take you into ice storage bins.
Ice Storage Bin
If you use ice for anything, your ice bin is an essential part of your business. It stores your ice until you are ready for it, and it needs to be the right size so that you don’t run out of ice prematurely yet don’t have too much ice sitting around.
Ice storage bins are available as components separate from the ice maker head. Buying each piece separately allows you to customize the ice maker that’s right for you. Most parts are compatible with each other. If a top and a storage bin don’t quite align correctly, a simple adapter kit will securely join them.
Look for specific things in an ice storage bin to ensure that you invest in the right product for your unique ice needs. Consider the following aspects
Size is an important consideration when purchasing an ice storage bin. Ice bins range in capacity from 100 pounds to 3250 lbs. Within that range, there’s storage for you.
A prevailing thought is to buy an oversized bin so that you can store any amount you want, big or small. A big container would ensure that you always had extra room. While this is logical, it’s also a bad idea. Having too big a bin:
- Is unnecessary, cumbersome, and takes up precious space
- Creates a massive pocket of air (thus no insulation) on top of the ice inside, which causes the ice to melt prematurely
- Will cause the ice to melt and stick together even if the bin is filled to capacity because these are unrefrigerated storage containers
Buying a big bin merely to have extra room will result in poor-quality ice. On the other hand, you don’t want inadequate storage, either. Running out of ice when you need it most isn’t fun. Determine which size is best for you to use by estimating your peak ice usage, your highest daily usage. Then, add 20 percent to it. That number represents the size of your ice storage bin.
For most restaurants, medical facilities, and similarly sized establishments, small- and medium capacity ice storage is sufficient. Small bins hold less than 500 pounds of ice, whereas medium bins store 501-900 pounds.
Keep in mind that in most cases, you don’t need to make an entire day’s or night’s supply at once. You’ll make more ice and stock the bin as needed; therefore, extra large storage containers aren’t just undesirable, they’re unnecessary.
Size matters, but it’s not the only key factors when buying an ice storage bin. Drainage is crucial, too.
It is imperative that your ice bin drains adequately. Ice will slowly melt as it sits in storage (again, these are unrefrigerated). If the bottom holds water and doesn’t dry, it will breed bacteria and mold. A well-drained ice storage bin is a must. Drying and cleaning it regularly is critical for health and sanitation, too.
Ice bins sport different types of doors:
- The rolling door, like an old-fashioned roll-top desk
- The sliding door, like a novelty ice cream freezer
- The lift-up door that is mounted on a hinge and swings up
- The side-swing door that is mounted on a hinge and swings up
The reason for so many different styles is to accommodate a range of spaces. If the area around your ice maker and storage bin is small and tight, you can choose a rolling or sliding door. If you have ample room, you can opt for a traditional hinged door.
Optional features can make your life easier if they fit your needs. Some bins have a window through which you can check ice levels. It’s a small thing that can make a big difference. The less you open the ice storage bin, the more slowly the ice will melt. Further, you won’t be letting smells into the container that will flavor the ice.
If you fill containers or buckets to transport them elsewhere, a chute is a handy addition to your ice bin. Some bins are equipped with chutes while others are not so you can select the feature you want.
You have a plethora of options for ice storage. Another part of ice use is the ice dispenser.
Ice dispensers on their own are simply that: dispensers of frozen water. They don’t make ice. A separate ice maker creates the ice, and someone fills the ice dispenser for distribution elsewhere. Such equipment is a convenient way to give your customers access to ice without having a cumbersome, hot, and noisy ice maker disrupting your setting.
Choose from two styles of ice dispenser: free-standing and countertop. Your space and size of your customer base as well as the way you plan on using the machine will determine whether you need a freestanding or a countertop dispenser.
Sometimes, you’ll want to have both an ice maker and dispenser available for customer use. When you so desire, think about what kind of ice you should provide.
There is so much more to ice than just a standard cube. Don’t be mistaken; the standard cube is handy in many settings, and its simplicity can lend an understand elegance to a beverage and its glass.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to the cube, however. You can choose the type of ice cube to fit your purpose. Ice machines make and dispense ice in different shapes and consistencies. Ice commonly produced by these appliances include:
- Cubes and half-cubes
Your setting will largely determine which type of ice maker and dispenser you need. Nuggets, for example, are soft pebbles of ice that are easy to chew. These are often found in hospitals and other clinical settings.
Remote Condensing Unit
If you produce large quantities of ice at a time, you might benefit from a remote condensing unit. These are remote air-cooled units for ice machines, and they keep both people and machines running smoothly.
Ice makers produce excess heat, and if it’s not dispersed, the machine will overheat and shut down. Some have internal air cooling systems, but those vent the heat to the area around the device. An already-hot kitchen becomes hotter. Adding to the misery, cooling systems in an icemaker are loud, adding to kitchen noise pollution.
Remote condensing units are an available option that can alleviate the heat and still cool the ice maker. They’re placed outside the building and connected to the ice maker with tubing. Your ice maker produces ice, and the remote condenser cares for the ice maker from afar.
The remote condensing unit is one of the large-scale ice machine accessories. Small accessories make a big difference, too.
This is a small and inexpensive accessory that should not be overlooked or underestimated. Using the right ice scoop will make your job quicker and easier. It can also make the ice you serve more sanitary.
Many ice scoops are made of aluminum. Scoops that are particularly good for scooping ice have a rounded bottom. A flat-bottom scoop is okay to use, but it’s mode for shoveling dry goods and sometimes merely skims over the top of the ice without catching much.
Some handles are rounded and smooth. Others are grooved with finger grips. These grooved and gripped handles are great when you’re using a large scoop.
An alternative to the traditional aluminum, open scoops is the polycarbonate scoop with germ guards. Regular ice scoops allow your hands and the ice to come into contact, potentially contaminating the ice and exposing the ice recipient to germs.
These newer polycarbonate scoops solve that problem. Two germ protection guards stop the ice from touching your knuckles and fingers. One model has a set of drain holes to allow water to drip out rather than into a glass. Neither germs nor liquid will invade the drinks of your guests.
Whether aluminum or polycarbonate, with or without guards, ice scoops are available in a wide range of sizes. They can be small enough to hold just one ounce of ice, large enough to scoop and carry 85 ounces, and everything in between.
Your ice maker is your base. With it, you can make the ice that enhances what you do. Adding ice machine accessories allows you to customize your unit so that it improves your work rather than detracts from it. Accessorize for enhanced ice service.
Feature image via google Manitowoc Ice