Monthly Archives: September 2014

  1. When Should You Get a Water Cooled Ice Machine?

    There are two types of cooling for ice machines: air cooling and water cooling.  As a general rule, the air cooled ice machines will work well under most circumstances, but they are not as energy efficient as water-cooled ice machines and will fail to work if the environment is too hot.  The water-cooled machines are inefficient with water, using about 100 more gallons to make 100 pounds of ice, but they’re slightly more energy efficient and can work in more locations.  When would you use a water-cooled ice machine?

    There are two types of water-cooled ice machines:

    Once Through Cooling System

    A once through cooling system will take water through the pipes, cool the machine once, and then send the heated water down the drain. It is a highly inefficient method, which is why ENERGY STAR was reluctant to give any water-cooled machines its label until recently

    Closed Loop Cooling System

    A closed loop water cooling system takes the water and circulates it around and around the machine.  In special cases, this type of machine can even be more energy efficient and water efficient than the air cooled one.  These types of machines, however, are priced very high so that they might be out of some facility’s range.

    If the water-cooled machine is so inefficient, why use it at all?

    Well, there are a few places where it’s appropriate to get a water-cooled ice machine.

    Even though the air-cooled machines are generally both more water efficient and energy efficient, there are still a couple situations where you might want to consider a water-cooled machine.

    • Hot places where it costs a lot in energy to cool it down for an air cooled machine.  Think about ice machines that are running in desert areas, or in a very hot environment where an air conditioner might not reach the area of the ice machine. 
    • Since the water-cooled system inherently doesn’t need an air intake, it has a smaller footprint compared to an air cooled ice machine. If you absolutely cannot make the space in the area, then a water-cooled machine might be your only option.

    Because of the inefficiency of once-through water-cooled equipment, there are several municipalities which do not allow new installations of water cooled ice machines. If you’re considering getting a water-cooled machine, check in your area to see if it’s allowed. For most businesses, an air cooled machine is best.

  2. History of Manitowoc Ice Makers

    Manitowoc’s humble beginnings started in 1902 with the creation of the Manitowoc Company by Charles West and Elias Gunnell.  The company was named after the city that it was founded in, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  The company began with shipping and shipbuilding, but expanded its capabilities to include refrigeration equipment shortly after World War II.

    Manitowoc Ice was officially formed in 1964, inspired by the mission to create the perfect ice machine – one which was perfectly efficient, conscious of both costs and food safety.  Their inside-the-box thinking is often just what consumers who are looking for reliable ice production need. That said, they have introduced many styles of ice machines to the public.

    Manitowoc Ice makers, like their Q series, were designed to be innovators in their field. The Q series features their QuietQube technology, changing the paradigm for remote condensing.  Their S machines were specifically created to meet standards set forth by the National Safety Foundation.

    More streamlining was done in 2011 with the release of their Indigo series of ice machines. These machines were made to focus on efficiency, including streamlined cleaning process and up-to-the-second diagnostics.  The Indigo series machines are focused on ease of use.

    There are over 200 models currently in production at Manitowoc Ice’s Wisconsin facility. You might be interested to know that they have several models which are ENERGY STAR certified – a certification given only to highly efficient machines.  

    (source: Manitowoc Ice)

  3. What contaminants can be found in ice?

    As ice machine specialists, we’re reading about ice machines and water quality on a daily basis.  We understand that in some cases, it’s nothing short of a miracle that drinkable water finds its way through a municipality’s pipes, given that there are so many sources of contamination along the way.  It’s surprising to see the exact components of some drinking water.

    The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) conducted a survey of 19 cities to determine was in their drinking water. It’s chilling to think that there are some places which have very poor or no protection from contaminants.

    What’s in our drinking water?


    There are tons of germs in our drinking water.  These germs are especially hazardous to those who have compromised immune systems or are susceptible to certain types of maladies.  The germs are picked up through the pipes as well as through standing water.


    Lead was used in the early 20th century for pipes, and through rust and corrosion gets into the water supply today.  We have since learned that lead is a bad thing, but quite often there’s an old pipe somewhere that has been overlooked. Some cities have not updated their complete water infrastructure to account for new technologies.


    Everyone needs a little arsenic in their water, right?  No.  Not at all.  Arsenic gets into the water from agricultural pollution and is considered a byproduct of mining and coal burning.  There are also natural deposits within the earth. Arsenic is quite toxic.

    Other Toxic Chemicals

    Any chemical that can reach the water supply could feasibly enter your tap. Granted, waste treatment techniques remove nearly all of them, but there is always the chance that there could be some left over. That’s why it’s so important to use filters.

    Each of these reasons is a reason for getting a good ice filter for your ice machine.  That filter provides an excellent defense against water contamination. 

  4. What is Hard Water?

    Hard water is created when ordinary water slides through magnesium, calcium, and other minerals.  The water itself will pick up some of the minerals associated with chalk, limestone, or perhaps dolomite.  Unfiltered hard water in an ice machine can slow down the performance of that ice machine because those contaminants get in the way.

    There are a couple tactics that you can use to soften the water that goes into your ice machine.

    Magnetic Water Softeners

    These softeners are put directly into the plumbing system so they can transform the hard water minerals into non-scale-producing materials.  Using a magnetic water softener will soften the water system-wide, so you can get softer water for your patrons’ drinks, your patient’s ice, and so on.

    Standard Water Filters        

    Water filters can be installed directly into the ice machine that you’re using.  The water filters catch particulates so that they don’t wind up in the ice. When a filter is properly used, the incidence of limescale in a machine is reduced.

    If you find that you’ve got hard water in your establishment, steps must be taken to make the system run better, as it can affect the taste and color of the ice and food that you’re serving. It’s significantly easier to filter your water as it goes through the pipes than it is to purchase distilled water at a high premium. Be sure to check the water hardness of your region and adjust your filters accordingly. 

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  5. How to Handle Ice Safely

    Ice is considered a food by the FDA, but you’ll only see it show up on the menu in the most avant-garde of restaurants. However, it needs to be treated with the same respect as the steaks, seafood, or subs served in the restaurant. Here’s how to treat your ice right so it treats you and your customers right.

    Regularly clean and sanitize the ice bin

    You wouldn’t store your food in dirty containers, would you?  Unclean ice means the potential spread of bacteria and other baddies. Be wary of letting ice build up in a bin that you can’t remember when you washed last. 

    Keep the scoop out of the bin

    There’s a few reasons to keep the ice scoop out of the bin.  The first is that it can become buried inside the ice machine and you’re left fishing around for it.  The second is that it can cause ice near it to melt. That liquid water can attract bacteria that you’re trying to avoid.

    Wear gloves to get ice

    Wearing gloves ensures that the ice itself receives as little contamination as possible. Make sure you use clean gloves too! You’ll prevent the spread of germs to anyone who uses the ice. If you’re using your ice machine in a health setting, this is a must.

    Transport ice with a container

    No time for heroics.  Use a container to transport the ice around the area.  Using the scoop or your hands to move ice is not only inefficient, but not particularly safe.

    Avoid using glasses as scoops

    Glasses can break and leave particles inside the ice bin. If it does break, it becomes incredibly difficult to differentiate the ice from the glass. It’s a definite health hazard.

    When you’re scooping your ice, following these ice handling techniques can save you both time, money, and inconvenience.  For a few more ideas and tips, take a look at this video presented by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.


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  6. Advantages of an Undercounter Dishwasher

    When running any service operation like a bar or restaurant, everything has to be on point. The servers have to be great representatives of the company and know the menu inside and out.  The cooks have to know how to prepare the food to perfection, and all of the equipment needs to be working.

    One of the biggest goals within any operation is efficiency.  You want to be able to serve the customers quickly while giving them the best restaurant or bar experience possible.  That’s one great reason to have an undercounter dishwasher right at your bar.

    We’ve talked about how having an undercounter ice machine can help with the bar’s operations.  Let’s take a closer look at why a dishwasher is also an excellent choice.

    • Dishwashers reduce the time that the bar backs have to spend moving empty glasses from the back to the front and vice versa.
    • Having a commercial undercounter dishwasher right there makes it easy for the bartender to wash dishes and glasses without waiting for a busser or barback to take the dishes.
    • A dishwasher demonstrates to the customer that you’re committed to cleanliness and hygiene while still operating a fun environment.

    We understand the reasons why some bars and restaurants choose not to have undercounter commercial dishwashers.  There might not be enough water hookups, or the 3-bowl undercounter sink system might be sufficient for their customer volume. However, we also understand that by installing these undercounter dishwashers, bars and restaurants are taking their game to the next level.

    Until dishes start to wash themselves, having an undercounter dishwasher is the next best thing.  They are convenient, wash dishes super-efficiently, and are quiet enough so that you can still hear the conversations at the bar. 

  7. Ranting or Raving? Sometimes It's About the Ice Maker

    We recently went to a pizza restaurant that made me sad.  It’s been in business for a few months and we were curious about it. That spot had seen a number of restaurants come and go in that location and we thought they must have been doing something right.

    Unfortunately, the quality was so poor we’re not even going to return in another couple of months just to see if it’s gotten any better, assuming it’s still in business.  There were a number of things wrong, but the real kicker was the ice machine. It looked like it had seen better days.  It was an undercounter Scotsman ice maker. We have no problem with this brand, but this particular ice machine had seen better days.

    There was a bit of water on the floor around it, like they had gotten ice out and some of it had spilled. That’s a contamination hazard, and a slip and fall hazard too. The other thing was that this undercounter Scotsman ice machine had almost no ice in it, meaning that there was a malfunction or that the machine had been turned off at some point earlier in the day.

    I only got a few ice cubes for my drink which were quickly melted with tepid tea. This stuff was bad. I didn’t receive any ice with the subsequent refills, like the people there had just given up on providing reasonable customer service.  When you’re pairing it with warm, weak tea then something’s got to give. 

    I’m not talking about this restaurant that we went to because I wanted to vent about bad service and a bad ice machine.  I’m talking about this restaurant because it demonstrates that little things, even ice machines, can make an impact on the customer experience. 

    There are people who go to particular restaurants because of the ice.  There are people who patronize certain gas stations because of the ice. A Scotsman ice maker might make the difference between someone ranting and someone raving, if it is taken care of properly. 

  8. A Quick History of Scotsman Ice Machines

    The Scotsman ice machine label originated in 1921 when Queen Stove Works bought the American Gas Machine Company.  Together, they created the name Scotsman and sold ice chests, heaters, and a lone commercial ice machine (imagine how much ice that produced!)

    The company remained until 1957 when the Queen Stove Works was bought out by King-Seeley, then merged with American Thermos Products Company in 1960.  The new name was King-Seeley Thermos. 

    In the next move, King-Seeley Thermos bought the Italian company Frimont S.p.A.  The Scotsman ice machine label was placed on these new acquisitions.  The King-Seeley Thermos Company was then bought by Household Finance, and labeled under Household Manufacturing.

    Later, Household Manufacturing divested itself of their Refrigeration Products Group, which later went on to become Scotsman Industries. Once free to focus on commercial ice product, Scotsman ice machines became even more prevalent as they began to acquire more ice machine companies.

    Fast forward to now.  The ALI Group bought Scotsman Industries, the makers of Scotsman ice makers, and has brought their machines to the global ice machine market.  You can now find the Scotsman name in over 100 countries in the world.

    While the company itself has been through a lot, each resource gathered into the Scotsman name makes it stronger.  Currently, Scotsman is the leader in ice machines, but who knows what the future holds?  

  9. Preventing the Buildup of Scale in Your Ice Machine

    Proper cleaning and maintenance for your commercial ice machines is a must.  Mold, slime, and bacteria can build up in the bins, turning the ice from a nice repast into a health hazard.  One of the most prevalent issues that ice machines have is scale.

    What is scale?

    Scale is a build-up of mineral deposits on the inside of your ice bin.  It’s aggressive, causing many maintenance issues like having improper ice cycles, discoloration in the ice, and bad flavor to the ice.  The scale works against your machine, preventing it from freezing ice efficiently. 

    How does scale form?

    Scale forms as calcium and magnesium are removed from the water that’s used for the ice. As it melts, those deposits are left behind, resulting in scale. 

    How is scale prevented?

    While scale is not completely preventable, it can be minimized through the use of a water filter. The filter prevent impurities from the water line getting to the ice machine.  Another result of this ice filter is that it yields cleaner, better ice. 

    Regularly draining and cleaning the inside of the ice bins and flushing the system helps in the prevention of scale, mold, bacteria, and other crud that can get into the system.  Once you’ve emptied your ice machine, follow the directions on the ice machine cleaner of your choice.

    Scale buildup can be prevented in your machine through regular maintenance and cleaning.  Not only will that cleaning and maintenance reduce scale, but it will keep your machine ready and going for years to come. 

  10. When is it time to get a new ice machine?

    With proper maintenance and care, our ice machines can last for decades.  However, our technology keeps improving and your business might have grown since your last purchase. You might have noticed that your machine is lagging a little bit behind the icepack.  What are some signs that you might need to replace your commercial ice machine?

    Energy Efficiency

    Over the past 20 years, advances have been made in energy efficiency. The modern Scotsman ice machines make ice using less energy than their 20-year-old counterparts, leaving more money in your pocket. Is your current ice maker as energy efficient as it could be?  

    Ice Production

    You have been putting your heart and soul into making your business grow.   Those efforts have really paid off, as you now have twice the number of customers as you had five years ago.  And yes, your Scotsman ice machines have been working hard to keep up. However, there comes a time where you just need an upgrade to keep up with the volume of ice you need.


    Anything with moving parts breaks down.  Unfortunately, that’s just a fact of life.  There comes a tipping point in every machine’s life where proper maintenance and care don’t necessarily do the trick anymore. If you find yourself spending more money keeping your current ice machine repaired than you would spend on getting a new one, maybe it’s time to switch?


    Efficiency is the name of the game.  To stay efficient in your restaurant, you have to make sure that you are using the space you have as well as you can. You might have a huge ice machine that you bought when dinosaurs walked the earth, but there might be something new on the market which offers the same volume of ice without the footprint of a T-Rex.


    Your Scotsman ice machines might have been producing LOTS of flake ice for your buffet setup, but now you might need more cube ice for your bar, or perhaps you want a gourmet ice machine for specialty cubes.


    There are some restaurant owners out there who want to make sure that their equipment is always under warranty.  When the warranty runs out, they are out to get a new machine, because they believe that machines ‘know’ when their warranties run dry.  Personally, we believe that our Scotsman ice machines will last forever with proper maintenance, but it’s up to you!

    If any of these signs apply to you, then it might be time to get a new ice machine installed in your establishment.  Check out our selection and see what’s new on the market.

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