[posted January 11, 2012]
I am a very lucky man. I am the father of two beautiful, young toddlers. When my second child, my son, was born, there were some complications. Now, I'm not going to get into too many details, but essentially, he was born five weeks premature and had some trouble breathing, so the hospital transferred him to the NICU on the day that he was due to come home with me and my wife. Of course, we hadn't planned on this happening, and what was supposed to be a happy homecoming before I went back to work became a hectic scramble to figure out how my wife and I could both be in two places simultaneously.
We soon realized that cloning was not a feasible option and we were left with a choice: stay the night in the hospital in a storage room on a pull-out couch, or drive home and leave our newborn baby boy in the hospital, crying in the dark all by himself. And we still had our daughter to take care of. My in-laws, however, were gracious enough to take care of her.
So my wife and I began building a nest in the hospital storage room and then we each took a shift in the NICU with our son while the other slept. This lasted for over a week. We would drive home to shower and eat, and to play with our daughter. Then we would head back to the hospital. Ironically, my wife and I barely saw each other during this time, due to the amount of running around we were doing. Additionally, I was trying to squeeze work in at every window of opportunity that I got. The only thing that my wife and I shared during this time (besides exhaustion, anxiety and delirium) was the occasional beverage at the hospital - with lots and lots of ice. It was actually Ice-O-Matic Pearl Ice to be exact, and in our nervous states, we chewed ice all day long while sipping on the generic ginger-ale that was generously provided by the hospital, found in a cabinet in the storage-closet-hovel that we were squatting in.
Pearl Ice is a development of the Ice-O-Matic company, created based on ice-making technology originally developed by their sister company, Scotsman in 1981 as an innovation on the flake ice machine. Basically, Pearl Ice is created by the same auger-based cylindrical freezing system that a flake ice machine uses, but it goes one step further. At the top of the cylindrical freezing tube, the auger forces the snow-like flake ice through extrusion holes in the cylinder, creating highly compressed, crunchy and chewable pearls of ice. Certain fast food chains have developed much of their reputation on a national scale using this ice type. It has become so recognizable in fact that I will not name them here. But, for those of us who don't eat fast food, we can get it at the hospital, where its chewable nature is welcomed. Generally, for us, it was our only food during our time there.
Ice-O-Matic has kept our needs in mind. Not only do they make this refreshing, life-giving ice, but they also know how to keep it clean and safe on its journey from the evaporator to your cup. This is vitally important in a hospital, because unfortunately in healthcare settings, germs and bacteria are everywhere! Consider that we have a better chance of getting sick in a hospital than we do at home most of the time, with all of the diseases flying around in the air. Thankfully, the dedicated Ice-O-Matic equipment designers and fabricators have taken our health into consideration!
Ice-O-Matic recommends that healthcare institutions use "touch-free" ice dispensers, such as the GEMD790. These ice and water dispensers are treated with the AgION technology, a silver ion-based coating that makes all of the parts of the ice machine capable of repelling bacteria. AgION provides no hospitable environments for bacteria to grow and reproduce. Further, as mentioned above, the machines are built with a touch-free dispenser that activates via an infrared light sensor. When a cup is placed beneath either the ice or water spigot, the unit dispenses either ice or water. No hands means no transfer of germs or bacteria.
With machines manufactured in all kinds of sizes, it is easy to pick the right Pearl Ice dispenser for any application. These machines produce anywhere from 200 pounds of ice to a whopping 720 pounds per day, with storage hopper options ranging from 12 to 90 pounds at one time. Bear in mind also that because of the way that this machine makes ice, it is virtually impossible to run out, because it doesn't run in automated freeze and harvest cycles like your standard cuber. The GEMD Series from Ice-O-Matic can be used in countertop applications, but is also available with an optional stainless steel stand for some models. In the end though, it's all about the ice, and for some of us, nothing, absolutely nothing, is quite as refreshing and satisfying as Pearl Ice, especially when you are sick or under stress. Your end users- whether they are customers at your foodservice establishment or patients in your healthcare facility - will thank you for providing this excellent ice style.
As for my own personal experience, after some days of observation in the hospital, all turned out well and our son came home breathing on his own. He is a healthy, strong boy who will be one year old in a couple of weeks, with no signs of any further breathing complications. I however, will never forget that anxious week. My wife and I made it through that difficult time with the help of family, hospital staff and the comforting crunch of Ice-O-Matic's chewable Pearl Ice.
Patrick, Customer Service Team Member, Ice Machines Plus