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How does a commercial ice maker work?

by wangshuchun 31 Jul 2023 0 Comments

<As every bartender knows, ice is pretty much the most important ingredient in any mixed drink. It gives flavours focus, preserves fizz, cuts sweetness and makes citrus zing.> Drinks writer Alice Lascelles emphasized the importance of ice in cocktails,<It gets the whole thing up on its toes. A drink that’s towering with ice is mouth-watering to look at. It’s exciting to touch. And it sounds better, too: is there any sweeter music, on a warm evening, than the clink of a G&T?> 

In summer, people go to restaurants to treat themselves with cold beer or iced coffee. Even in winter, Coke tastes better with ice. For restaurants, coffee shops, bars, supermarkets, an energy efficient ice machine is always essential. However, many entrepreneurs are still unfamiliar with the working principle of ice machines, and do not know how to choose the type that suits their business.

SMAD how does commercial ice maker works

1. Refrigeration cycle

The basic principle of ice making is fairly simple. Like a refrigerator, the circulation of a refrigerant removes enough heat from the water to force the liquid water to turn into solid ice.

A modern refrigeration system consists of four main components: compressor, condenser, expansion valve and evaporator. Refrigerant circulates through every part of the ice maker, changing temperature throughout.

The compressor sucks in and compresses a certain amount of refrigerant gas. The temperature and pressure of the refrigerant increase during compression. High-pressure refrigerant goes from the compressor to the condenser, where it condenses into a high-pressure liquid, releasing heat. The high-pressure liquid refrigerant then enters the evaporator through the expansion valve. While passing through the expansion valve, the refrigerant evaporates and becomes a low-pressure gas, absorbing heat. The gas is then returned to the compressor to start the cycle again.

2.The working process of the ice machine:

It starts by letting water flow into a tank from the inlet valve. Then, a pump moves the water to a distribution pipe that spreads it evenly to the evaporator that is cooled by the low-temperature liquid refrigerant. The water that reaches the freezing point will freeze and turn into ice, while the rest of the water goes back to the tank and repeats the cycle with the pump.

When the ice is thick enough, the high-pressure hot gas discharged from the compressor flows to the evaporator through the reversing valve to replace the low-temperature liquid refrigerant. In this way, a thin layer of water is formed between the ice cube and the evaporator, which helps the ice come off and drop into a bin below.

3.Three Commercial Ice Making Systems

Spray system:

Ice cubes produced in this way have high hardness and are crystal clear, but the ice production efficiency is low and the price is relatively high.

In spray system, the water pump sprays water to the evaporator at the top, and the evaporator ice tray is installed horizontally. The freezing point of this ice-making system is quite low, can reach below minus 20°C.

The spray system generally produces cylindrical or cube-shaped ice cubes. The contact surface between the surfaces of cylindrical ice cubes is small, and it is not easy to stick together, so it is convenient to use. Ice cubes made by spray system machine have the features of high hardness, low temperature, and crystal clear, which is suitable for cooling liquor. The slow melting speed will not dilute the liquor and will not affect the taste. The disadvantage is that the ice production efficiency of the machine of this system is relatively low.

Vertical system:

High transparency of ice cubes (Slightly inferior to the ice produced by the spray system), high ice production efficiency, high cost performance.

This system produces the ice using a vertical evaporator. The water flows through the ice tray from the upper part of the ice tray by the gravity of the water. The ice tray is installed vertically, and the ice cubes produced are not very hard compared with those made by the spray system. SMAD Vertical system ice machine has fast ice making speed, high efficiency and moderate price, and is widely used in restaurants.

Axial system :

It generates a granular ice, which is -6℃~-12℃,most suitable for cooling in industrial processing and transportation of perishable items. Granular ice is often used for seafood display on the fresh counter of supermarkets. Large scale ice can also be used in cement plants, chemical plants, meat joint factories, marine fisheries, etc.

The Axial System produces ice using a cylindrical evaporator with an auger that scrapes the ice off the walls of the evaporator. It is a continuous machine without a pump.

4.Two types of Heat dissipation:

There are currently two cooling methods for commercial ice machines, water cooling and air cooling

The difference between an air-cooled ice machine and a water-cooled ice machine is that the air-cooled ice machine uses fans and heat sinks to dissipate heat from the ice-making system, while the water-cooled ice machine uses tap water running in the condenser tube to take away the heat of the gaseous refrigerant and liquefy it. The cooling effect of the water-cooled ice machine is determined by the water temperature. The higher the water temperature, the higher the condensation temperature, and the lower the cooling efficiency of the refrigeration unit.

Air-cooled ice machine:

Advantages: ① low installation cost; ② less water consumption, which can meet the requirements of areas with regulations on sewage discharge; ③ low energy consumption;

Disadvantages: ①The heat dissipated by the machine will lead to an increase in the temperature of the ice machine installation area; ②When used in high temperature areas , the capacity of the ice machine may decrease.smad air-cooled ice maker for restaurant,bar

Water-cooled ice machine:

Advantages: ①Less impact on ambient temperature; ②The water-cooled ice machine can reduce the condensation temperature of the refrigeration unit, improve the refrigeration efficiency, and the loss of ice production capacity in summer will not be too large

Disadvantages: ① Huge water consumption. For every 45 kg of ice produced, the condensation system will consume 0.46 tons of water; ② It will significantly increase the cost of water for ice machine users.

I hope this article can help you understand how the ice machine works. In the next blog, we will introduce how to clean and maintain it. If you are interested, remember to subscribe and follow us.

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