Welcome to the ice age

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The latest makers and machines on the market produce more ice per day in more sizes with less impurities than ever before.

Think fast—what is the most-served product in restaurants?

If you said ice, then you know the foodservice industry. An abundant amount of ice is used in restaurants not only to cool beverages but to also chill waiting menu items and, in some establishments, display steaks or seafood to diners.

That’s why manufacturers continue to innovate and evolve their ice-makers into increasingly efficient and safer machines. Today’s technology can remove impurities from incoming water but kill microbes in ways far beyond the Microban antimicrobial coatings that were introduced 15 years ago. Other upgrades include increased daily ice production, a reduction of wasted water and more control over ice creation.

Before selecting an ice-maker or ice machine, first decide what kind of ice suits your restaurant. There are currently seven types available, sometimes in assorted sizes, and we’ve listed them all below. Then, browse our list of the latest machines and makers to hit the market.

The Full Cube (or Die): Completely square and ideal for quickly cooling beverages.
• The Half Cube (or Half Die): A rectangle resembling a full cube cut in half. Its small size enables more ice to fit in a glass (and, thus, less liquid when serving high-margin beverages).
• Crescent Ice: Shaped like a half moon, it provides a more decorative look in glasses where it is used the same as half cubes. Note: These cubes are a specialty of Hoshizaki America.
• Gourmet Ice (also called Top-Hat and Octagon Ice): Shaped like a tiny shot glass, it was developed for serving scotch on the rocks and adds an elegant touch to all beverages. Because the process requires moving air through the ice as it freezes, it comes out crystal clear.
• Flake Ice: Resembles tiny chips that upscale restaurants mostly use for displaying seafood or steaks. It’s also used for making Italian ice treats.
• Nugget Ice (also called Pearl or Chewlet Ice): Tiny irregularshaped spherical pellets that have a soft, chewable nature. This ice is used for rapidly cooling drinks and having greater liquid displacement than half cubes. In the past decade, it’s become a main ingredient in smoothies.
• Grande Cube: The most recent addition to the marketplace, the Grande Cube is more than double the size of a full cube and melts slower, making every sip seem classier.

Brand: Follet Corp.
Product: Horizon Elite, U Series ice machines

Introduced late last year, the Horizon Elite ice machine from Follett Corp. won a 2016 National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations Award for its revolutionary water management system, which dramatically reduces scale buildup while maintaining an efficient production of ice. The machine’s design isolates minerals in the water in its freezing chamber, allowing the machine to produce ice more consistently and for longer periods. “This reduces the frequency of descaling, which means less downtime,” says Scott Bingham, senior product marketing manager at Follett. And when descaling is required, only 1 or 2 gallons of water—rather than 30 gallons—is needed to flush out the isolated minerals. “It further eliminates the expense of water treatment systems, such as reverse osmosis, all the while producing purer ice,” Bingham says.

Also new from Follett this year is an integrated ice-maker bin that produces up to 425 pounds of ice over a 24-hour period. With 75 pounds of storage capacity, the bin can be used in a freestanding or under-counter application. At 24 inches wide with no side, top or rear clearance required, it can fit into almost any restaurant where space is at a premium. Built with Follett’s high-performance Maestro Plus ice machine’s stainless steel evaporator, auger and top bearing, it is engineered for durability and reliability. An oversized, heavy-duty and tapered roller bearing ensures a long low-maintenance life. It has no noisy harvest cycles for a quieter ice production. Other features include semi-automatic cleaning that makes maintenance a snap; regular self-flushing that improves quality and reduces buildup; and 25 percent less energy consumption as well as 40 percent less water use than comparable cube machines.

Brand: Ice-O-Matic
Product: O3-Matic Ozone Delivery System and Grande Cube ice machine

Purer and safer ice is promised by the O3-Matic Ozone Delivery System, which was unveiled last spring by Denver-based Ice-O-Matic. This device infuses ozone into incoming water, killing microbes on every surface it touches and retarding future growth. Ozone also becomes entrapped in the ice cubes, carrying the same sanitation benefi ts to the bin and dispenser.

Introducing ozone increases intervals between necessary sanitizing; impedes microbial growth while continually sanitizing; and diminishes mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses. It also improves taste and eliminates odor in iced drinks. “We believe it will allow users to provide the cleanest ice possible,” says Keith Kelly, president of Ice-O-Matic.

The O3-Matic is designed for modular cube ice makers and can be retrofi tted to all existing units. “It will reduce expensive sanitizing cycles and contribute to the overall food safety of the establishment,” Kelly says. Last year, Ice-O-Matic unveiled the Grande Cube machine (model CE0856/55), which produces cubes more than twice the size of standard full-sized cubes. “Great for upscale restaurants, the large format looks great in glasses, and the larger surface area allows the cubes to melt more slowly to bring drinks closer to the temperature of the ice without over-diluting the cocktail,” said Dotty Woods, public relations.

Features of this Energy Star-certified machine include dual pass evaporator plate technology that more evenly distributes cooling throughout the machine, making more reliable and consistent output.

Brand: Hoshizaki America
Product: Slim-Line Modular Crescent Cuber and CycleSaver technology

Boasting 20 percent greater ice production, the Energy Star-qualifi ed SlimLine Modular Crescent Cuber was introduced last year by Georgia-based Hoshizaki America. The signature crescent cubes are made on an exclusive dualsided stainless steel evaporator and a high-efficiency heat exchanger that enables this ice-maker to produce the same quantity in about half as many cycles as its competitors. It can also be mounted on multiple dispenser or bin options.

Hoshizaki also offers a line of remote air-cooled ice machines with a condenser that can be mounted outside or on the roof of the restaurant, shielding it from temperature swings, smoke, dust and debris that can hinder the machine, according to Sally Ray, marketing manager at Hoshizaki. It also creates a better dining environment when the noise created by the condenser is out of ear shot from customers. These machines come in models producing cubelet, flake and crescent ice.

Ray claims that Hoshizaki is the only one in the industry to use a stainless steel evaporator plate, which she says doesn’t rust, fl ake or peel. They can also be cleaned with any cleaner, not just a nickel-safe cleaner. Other features include Hoshi- Guard Antimicrobial Agent, which inhibits the growth and build-up of slime and bacteria and ensures exceptionally pure ice. CycleSaver technology trims production cycle times up to 50 percent when compared with traditional ice machines, which results in increased ice production rates with lower energy costs. Hoshizaki’s EverCheck Alert System will also alert staffers to a number of service problems by emitting a sequence of audible beeps.

Brand: Manitowoc Ice
Product: Indigo Ice Machines, NEO Undercounter Ice Machines

Intelligence, easy maitenance and energy effi ciency are three major features of the Indigo Ice Machine line from Manitowoc Ice, based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. First introduced in 2011, these machines feature state-of-the-art diagnostics that provide 24-hour preventive maintenance and trouble-shooting feedback. Popular models like the IY-0454A ice machine can make up to 450 pounds of half-size ice cubes per day, says Richard Showers, vice president of marketing and product placement. A customizable output schedule programs the machine to produce ice either by time intervals or by volume; and an illuminated EasyRead display screen communicates operating status as well as cleaning reminders. All Indigo series ice machines feature an easy-to-clean food zone. A hinged front door swings out for easy access to the removable water-trough, distribution tube, curtain and sensing probes for easy cleaning. Additionally, select components are made with Alpha San antimicrobial material for superior sanitation. Bigger daily ice production is achieved with Manitowoc’s new undercounter NEO ice machines that are offered in four models (U-140 to U-310). NEO machines produce about 40 percent more ice per day (125 to 198 pounds) in the same footprint as competing models and with less energy. Three models are Energy Star qualifi ed. Display icons note when the machine needs cleaning, the bin is full of ice or if there’s a service problem. LuminIce Growth Inhibitor technology creates “active air” that passes over all exposed food zone components to inhibit the growth of yeast, bacteria and other microorganisms. “With its removable bin and low-profi le construction, NEO machines fi t just about anywhere, from upscale restaurants to small coffee shops,” Showers says.

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