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Ice Machine Buying Guide Ice Machine Buying Guide

Section 12. What Optional Equipment Or Accessories Will I Need For My Commercial Ice Machine?

Accessories: Required, Recommended or Optional

 

Depending upon the type of ice machine you are purchasing, there may be additional components or products that will required for your ice making system to function. Other accessories can be purchased that will enhance the performance of your ice machine or keep your ice making system in top condition but are optional items. And some components are highly recommended by the manufacturer.

For example, if you purchase any kind of ice machine head, which is a modular unit, you will be required to mount that machine head on some other piece of equipment, such as an ice storage bin, a countertop dispenser, a beverage dispenser, or a hotel ice dispenser. You simply cannot have the ice machine head make ice without another component since the ice produced gets dropped out of the bottom of the ice machine. It needs to go somewhere. So with an ice machine head, a storage/dispensing component is required.

A highly recommended accessory would be a water filtration system (See Section 11 of the Buying Guide) or ice machine cleaning supplies (See Section 13 of the Buying Guide).

And a truly optional accessory might increase the efficiency of your business workflow, such as an ice bagger system. It's not required or even recommended, unless your business includes the sale of bagged ice, of course.

Ice Machine Accessories and Other Equipment

 

Ice Storage Bins a) Ice Storage Bins

An ice storage bin basically stores the ice that has been produced until you are ready to use it. Typically a storage bin has an opening in the top to allow harvested ice to fall directly into the bin. Usually a door of some kind is located on the front of the unit to allow retrieval of the ice in the bin. The door can be a flip up or sliding type door. Most storage bins are manufactured to allow a single ice machine head to be mounted on top, although some of the larger width models can allow two side by side. An ice storage bin needs to be at least the same width as the ice machine head, but it can be wider (See Bin Top Adapters below). NOTE: Ice Storage Bins do not keep ice frozen. They ARE insulated and can hold ice for a length of time, but not indefinitely. The ice WILL melt eventually. Melt water must be drained regularly to avoid bacterial or mold growth. Be certain a drain is available for the storage bin.


Ice Dispensers b) Ice Dispensers (countertop or hotel dispenser - also beverage dispenser)

Ice Dispensers are NOT the same as Ice Maker Dispensers. Ice Dispensers do NOT produce ice and will require ice to be dropped into their built in storage bins. Ice Dispensers can be Countertop or Hotel Dispensers. Both types can easily have an ice machine head mounted on top for the most efficient ice making and dispensing system. If the self-contained ice maker dispensers do not produce enough ice for your daily requirements, consider mounting an ice machine head with a high production rate on top of an appropriate ice dispenser. Many soda and beverage dispensers (as you would see in typical fast food restaurants and sandwich shops) can also accept a top mounting ice machine head.


Remote Condenser Unit c) Remote Condenser Unit (for Remote Air Cooled Ice Machine Heads)

You will only require a remote air cooled condenser if you are purchasing a Remote Air Cooled Ice Machine Head. The remote condenser unit typically is installed outdoors, usually mounted on top of the building.

The most important consideration is that the specific condenser and refrigerant must be used for the ice machine. You cannot mis-match the units or you will damage both. Check the ice machine specification sheet for the required remote condenser unit and refrigerant line set (see tubing kit below).



Refrigerant Tubing Kit d) Refrigerant Tubing Kits (Line Sets for Connecting Remote Condenser Units to Ice Machines)

Refrigerant Tubing Kits are connected to the remote condenser and the ice machine head. They are typically charged up with refrigerant and sealed at the factory. These are only required if you have a remote air cooled ice machine and the appropriate remote condenser unit.

Tubing Kits are available in different lengths, so you can choose the appropriate length depending upon the distance between your ice machine and the remote condenser. The tubing kits are specifically designed for certain ice machine and condenser combinations, so be certain to check the manufacturer's specification sheet for the model numbers of the appropriate tubing kits for connecting your ice machine and remote condenser.



Bin Top Adapters e) Bin Top Adapters

These accessories are only necessary if you purchase a top mounting ice machine head that has a width that is narrower than the equipment it is being mounted upon. For example, if you mount a 22" cuber head on top of a 30" ice storage bin, there would be approximately 8" opening in the top of the bin that is not covered by the cuber head. Therefore you would require the 8" bin top adapter that has been specifically designed by the manufacturer to cover that 8" gap snugly and firmly. Sometimes the bin adapter is a metal plate with an opening cut in the middle for the ice machine head to sit on top of with the ice harvesting area directly above the opening. Every manufacturer has different bin top adapters for the variety of configurations of their equipment. Most are appropriate for that brand of ice machine and bin only.

The basic rule is if the top unit is smaller than the bottom unit, you will need a bin top adapter. Check the widths of all of your equipment and review the manufacturer specification sheets to see if your bin and ice machine combination require an adapter.



Ice Machine Water Filtration f) Water Filtration

While you may think that if you have excellent tasting water in your area that you do not need any water filtration on the water line going to your ice machine, you should consider the fact that MOST maintenance issues with ice machines trace back to mineral-laden water. Water filters are not only for "purifying" the water's taste. Water filters remove minerals such as calcium that build up on surfaces of your ice machine, particularly on metal components. This "scaling" can cause parts to grate and grind and in general decrease the performance of your ice machine. Over time, this wear and tear can cause an early demise of your equipment.

You will also need to change the water filter cartridge every 6 months as recommended by the manufacturers.

You will need to determine the amount of ice your machine will be producing and the water flow volume in order to choose the most appropriate sized water filtration system. Check the manufacturer's specification sheet for these details.



Ice Scoops g) Ice Scoops

You may or may not need an ice scoop for daily operations, but they can come in handy. If you are purchasing a self-contained, sealed cabinet ice maker dispenser, you won't likely need an ice scoop, since all ice will dispense directly to a container such as a glass. However, if you are purchasing any kind of ice storage bin, including undercounter models with built-in bins, you will need a scoop to retrieve ice. This scoop remains with the storage bin to maintain sanitary conditions. Scoops come in different sizes, so the small bin of an undercounter ice machine would require a smaller scoop. They are typically available in stainless steel or heavy-duty plastic materials and most come with their own holders that can be mounted inside the storage bin.


Ice Bagging System h)  Ice Bagging Systems

There are two types of ice bagging systems. The first is the manual system which typically includes some sort of bag hanger that is mounted on the front of an ice bin. This system requires physically scooping ice from the storage bin into the bag being held open on the bagger frame. Then the filled ice bag must be manually closed/sealed and another bag stretched open on the hanger.

The second and much more expensive system is the semi-automatic or automatic bagging system. These large units are ice storage bins with a built in bagger chute. These models can blow open the ice bag, release enough ice from the bin to fill the bag and then close the bin. The fully automatic systems can do it with the push of a button or pressing a pedal on the floor.

If your business includes the selling of bagged ice, then one of these ice bagging systems would be ideal for you.



Ice Machine Cleaning Supplies i)  Cleaning Accessories/Supplies

Every ice machine requires cleaning (see Section 13 of the Ice Machine Buying Guide). Without regular cleaning, the ice machine can build up scale and mold, meaning less than safe or sanitary ice making conditions. It can also impact the performance of the ice making system, creating soft, discolored and less than frozen ice due to the bacteria or other contaminants on the interior surfaces. Most ice machine manufacturers have a set of cleaning procedures for their ice machines. Some manufacturers have designed automatic cleaning systems that can be integrated into the ice machine so that the cleaning process can be scheduled and automated. These automatic cleaning systems can be expensive, so most ice machine owners perform their ice machine cleaning on a regular basis.



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