MODULAR ICE MACHINES
With so many modular ice makers on the market, choosing a model that fits your bill can be a hard nut to crack. Fear not, whether you’re looking to replace your old unit gone bonkers or outfit a whole new kitchen for the first time, we’ve got the answers to your burning ice machine questions. We’ll cover the following:
- What exactly is a modular ice machine?
- When to go for a modular vs a self-contained ice maker?
- How much ice can a modular ice maker produce in a day?
- What volume should I go for?
- How do I choose the right storage bin?
- Which factors should I consider when choosing a modular ice machine?
- How to maintain a modular ice machine in full working order over time?
Modular ice machines are ice generator units that do not contain any storage space and therefore require the installation on an ice storage bin or dispenser unit (bought separately) to function correctly. Modular ice makers offer the ultimate flexibility as the heads are designed to be compatible with a variety of different bin sizes and models, allowing you to customise your ice-making solution.
If you’re on the fence about whether to get a modular or a self-contained ice maker, consider that modular ice machines present several advantages:
- Higher daily ice production: there is no arguing that a modular head will deliver more ice so if your business needs surpass 150kg of ice per day (with ice flakers being the exception), modular is what you’ll probably end up going for.
- Mix and match at will: upsize or downsize your bin to produce precisely what you need and keep as much ice ready as you require. That way you can be sure your ice bin won’t go chockers on ya in the time of need.
- When the modular head has reached the end of its functional life, you can reuse the existing storage or dispensing equipment with the newly purchased ice maker, and upgrade separately.
The drawback? While technology has been steadily edging towards smaller and more efficient models, modular ice machines and their storage bins still tend to be bulkier than their self-contained counterparts, which can often fit undercounter.
A modular ice maker can produce anywhere from 100kg to well over a tonne of ice per day.
Your ice machine should be able to meet your demand of ice when it’s at its highest, plus some. We recommend to include a 20% buffer to ensure you leave yourself room for growth or potential spikes in demand as, once you commit to an ice machine, you won’t be able to increase your ice production—short of purchasing a new one. For many businesses, peak season is summer due to thirstier, outdoors-happy customers, but it can depend on other factors, too.
- Customer numbers: you’ve prolly got a gut feeling that your business is busier at a certain time of the year, but how much busier? A fool-proof way is to check your books to see how many customers that’d be.
- Temperature indoors: the lower the air temperature around the ice maker (and the water temperature), the less it has to work to freeze that water. It’s smart to place your ice maker in a spot where air flow, or air con, will help it out during those blistering summer months.
That ice storage bins are just glorified eskies is fake news, folks. Today’s storage bins keep ice sanitary and ready for use for hours. You can even store pre-packaged ice in them. The configuration is usually stackable, with the ice maker sitting on top of the storage bin, which can keep anywhere from 100kg to more than 700kg of ice.
Choosing the correct storage bin for your modular ice maker is not tricky. Once you’ve picked your desired capacity, you need to find a model that will match your ice machine head’s size. For most manufacturers, standard heads are 22″, 30″ or 48″ wide (56cm, 76cm and 122cm respectively), often compatible across bin models. A conversion kit, or bin top kit, may be used to match bins with ice makers where small size differences arise.
You can have a peek at our selection of quality ice storage bins here .
You’ve determined that a self-contained ice maker is what you want. Great, what’s next? Choose based on the following:
- Ice shape
Regular cube shapes or fancy gourmet? Chewable nuggets or soft ice flakes [link: Category: Flaker page]? Manufacturers really do spoil us for choice here.
- Daily production volume
Your ice machine should be able to make enough to cover your needs today as well as in a few years down the road.
- Condenser type
Air-cooled condensers are cheapest and work best in well-ventilated areas. Water-cooled condensers can take on even the hottest kitchen, but they are not as environmentally friendly. Remote-cooled condensers are the quietest option but require a separate installation of the condensing unit, usually outdoors.
What are your non-negotiable requirements? What about nice-to-have features? You can opt for a tried-and-true model or the latest innovation, engineered to make your life easier and save you time and money in the longer run.
Thinking of buying one? Give us a call and we’ll give you professional advice to help you choose the best option for you. Or browse through our modular ice machine range below.