Whether it is keeping food fresh, or being used to mix concrete, ice blocks play a vital role in several industrial processes. So much, in fact, that there’s a growing demand in the world for reliable industrial block ice making machines.
The ice blocks that these machines make are large in dimension (some weighting more than a 100 kg) but have a small area of contact, which when combined with a high quality manufacturing method makes them last longer and reach lower temperatures than normal ice.
How Block Ice Machines Work
The method most commonly used by commercial block ice machines is submerging a series of water containing cans into a tank that is filled with a solution of either Sodium or Brine. This lowers the temperature of the ice cans and cools down the water to a temperature below the freezing point.
These blocks, depending on their size and weight, can take somewhere between 8 and 24 hours to manufacture, but once they’re finished this method creates a solid block of ice which takes a lot of time to melt but is easy enough to store and transport. This was a process that was done manually for decades, but thanks to the advances of technology, most machines today can manufacture large quantities of ice blocks without needing a big crew to operate them.
Types of Industrial Block Ice Making Machines
Although the principle behind making ice is similar in most machines, which is the exchange of heat between two liquids with different temperatures, there are several key differences that separate commercial block ice machines into different categories.
There are three main types of industrial block ice makers:
- Direct Refrigeration, where there is a direct heat transfer between the water and the refrigerant. These machines are used to make high-quality dry ice for human consumption.
- Containerized Machines, that serve as mobile ice block making plants, which can create blocks as heavy as 150 kg and are destined for areas where there is no available ice making infrastructure.
- Traditional Brine Block Ice Machine, which is one of the most commonly used today, and has applications in every type of industry including fisheries.
Industrial Uses of Block Ice
Block ice is the preferred refrigeration method in many industries. Ice blocks take a longer time to melt, and they are easily stored which is why they are often used in the fishing industry though, to be useful boats carry ice crushing machines to break the block down into small enough pieces that it can be used to pack the fish in the hold.
But in addition to this, block ice is also more hygienic, because it has a lower temperature than regular ice, and therefore it is ideal to refrigerate large quantities of food for a low cost. That’s how relatively small machines can keep huge cold stores on freezer vessels supplied with tons of slow melting ice blocks.
Using a commercial block ice maker helps keeps the product cool and fresh, preventing the drying up that entails using a refrigerator. But ice blocks uses aren’t limited to preserving food; many chemical processes, like those involved in making colors or dyes, involve the use of industrial ice blocks. Ice is even used to make concrete, when there is a need to get rid quickly of the heat created during the curing process.