Do This Or Start Saving For New Flake Ice Machines
Flake ice machines make soft, crunchy ice. Cubers make a solid, clear piece of ice. These are two basic types of ice made by ice machines used in restaurants. . If you neglect a cuber, it will need a minor service call. If you neglect a flake ice machien, you maybe buyg a new machine.
Cubers Require Less Maintenance Than Flake Ice Machines
About 80 % of the machines make cubes. Water is frozen on the cold evaporator plate. Then the plate is warmed and the cubes fall off. Any standard cube size and shape works fine. Whatever you have is fine.
Some manufacturers offer an extra large option. Bigger cubes do not equal more ice. It actually decreases production slightly. The larger cubes can also cause jamming problems in ice dispensers.
If you neglect a cuber the mineral deposits in the water continue to build up until the unit shuts itself down. Then it only needs to be cleaned. Detailed information about cubers can be found in Lesson 3 of the Ice Machine Secrets e-course. The course is FREE for subscribers to Refrigeration Savings Tips, a free e-zine. You can subscribe below.
Flake Ice Machines Need Regular Service Or Else
Flake ice is used mostly for product display, especially fish. The ice comes out of the evaporator as flakes and may be extruded and cut into chips and nuggets.
People like to chew the ice from flake ice. It is softer than cubes because it is up to 20% liquid water. This instantly dilutes beverages. The remaining ice has mores surface area exposed to the beverage and melts faster.
Flakers are notoriously undependable. The evaporator warranty is usually only 2 years compared to the usual 5 year warranty on cubers. Manufacturers claim the new flakers are dependable. I will believe it when the factory stands behind a 5 year evaporator warranty.
Before buying a flake ice machine, you need to commit to getting it serviced yearly. Not just a cleaning, but also a tear down. The bottom bearings must be checked annually. This is hard to do and time consuming. Annual service often consists of cleaning the evaporator and checking the top bearing.
The bottom bearing is the one that wears out first. It can cause damage to the evaporator. Evaporator replacement is very expensive. You may have to decide between a major repair or replacement of the machine.
Flake ice machines aren’t very common and many technicians are not experienced with them. I would find the most experienced tech in your town through the manufacturer. Then make arrangements for a proper annual service.
I usually do not recommend service contracts. They tend to favor the service company too much. This is one exception. The consequences are too great, if the unit is neglected. If a service contract is the only way to make sure the work gets done, it’s worth it.
Because flake ice machines are so rarely properly serviced I never recommend buying a used one. Chances are you are buying a time bomb.
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