FLAKE ICE MACHINE
They call us the ice creamery, cos we’ve always got a good scoop for ya. This time around it’ll literally give you the chills because it’s about an ever-popular type of ice: flake ice. So if you’ve got ice-flake-themed questions roaming around your head, you’re on the right page.
- What exactly is flake ice and how does a flake ice maker work?
- How much ice can a flaker produce in a day?
- Is a flake ice maker the right choice for my business?
- Which factors should I consider when choosing a flake ice machine?
- How to maintain a flake ice machine in full working order over time?
We’ll aim to answer these questions below and help you make the right choice in selecting your flake ice machine.
When talking about flake ice, we usually mean granular ice. Granular ice is composed of small, irregularly shaped chips of ice with a 73 percent ice-to-water ratio. Due to its size and shape, this type of flake ice is less dense than ice cubes, softer to the point of easily adapting to the shape of whatever it comes in contact with, and melting relatively fast. Another perk of granular ice is that it’s chewable, making it ideal for consumption as food.
Granular flake ice is made in a distinct way from other ice types. Within the ice maker, an auger transports water up a cylindrical tube until it starts forming into ice crystals (at ca. -0.5°C). The auger then carries them further up to be compressed and cooled, until they drop in the storage bin as flakes.
Another type of flake ice, called scale ice, is a harder and colder type of ice used in large quantities in commercial fishing and concrete cooling industries. Its ice crystals are cooled down to -7°C to be chipped off by a harvesting blade.
Most ice flake makers produce somewhere between 30 kg and 1,500 kg of ice per day.
Flake ice comes in handy for a variety of applications. If you plan to use flake ice regularly, it may be advisable to invest in a flaker rather than outsource the production, which may come out to be more expensive and less reliable in the long run.
- You’re in the “fishy” business
The fishing industry is the single largest user of flake ice in the world, where it’s used to transport, store, display and pack fresh fish and fish products, either in markets or stores or speciality restaurants. Flake ice is a gentle, cool bed for its contents that prevents these delicate foods from getting a freezer burn, while slowing the growth of bacteria and keeping the product fresh.
- You show off your goodies as a job
…where by goodies we of course mean meat, fruit and veg, as well as delicious buffet food such as salads or sushi. Flake ice here is used to transport, store and display fresh produce.
- Safety is first!
Flake ice is widely employed in healthcare: it’s choking-hazard safe and it can easily be packed and bent, making it perfect for application to injuries to reduce pain and swelling.
- You make finger-licking-good treats
Your milkshake shaved ice desserts bring all the boys (and girls) to your yard? Time to scale up your production and make it big by buying a flaker. Another delicious application is found in bars and cafes: flake ice is used to make cocktails and smoothies instead of grinding ice cubes in blenders. Taking this precaution significantly reduces wear and tear on blender blades!
Once you’ve decided that an ice flake maker is what you need, it’s time to choose “The One”. Here’s what you should consider before buying:
Do you want a modular flaker to mix-and-match with a separate storage bin, or a self-contained option? How much space do you have? Compact ice makers cannot match the volumes of a larger, industrial scale one. Which brings us to the next consideration…
- Daily production volume
Your ice machine should be able to meet your demand of ice when it’s at its highest, plus some. It’s recommended to include a 20% buffer to meet demand spikes and leave yourself room for growth.
- 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.
Quality flake ice machines are sturdy, steel-made affairs, however neglecting your flake ice machine over time can ruin it as well as interfere with the ice characteristics. If you don’t clean your ice machine on the reg, you leave common microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, yeast and mould room to thrive. So make sure you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and clean it regularly (usually every 3 to 6 months) using an appropriate cleaner. We also recommend using a water filter to help prevent mineral build-up. We hope we’ve shed some clarity on your questions regarding flake ice makers.
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 flake ice machine range below. Who knows, you might just fall in love at frost sight!