Industrial flake ice machines produce a type of ice which has irregular particle sizes, has a fast cooling speed, lacks sharp edges and it’s easy to crushed. This properties make it ideal for many industries that need a moldable ice that cools down quickly. That’s why ice flakes are commonly used in the fishing industry, concrete production, chemical factories, food processing plants, etc.
Flake ice machines also have the additional advantage of using energy more efficiently than other types of ice makers. This is because they don’t have a heating cycle, which means that they use less water and electricity than a nugget or cube ice machine, but produce the same amount of ice.
How they work
Commercial flake ice makers work using a compressed refrigerant fluid to reduce the water’s temperature below its freezing point. This is done through the help of the machine’s engine, which compresses the refrigerant gas and it circulates it through a series of coil lines that are in contact with the water.
These refrigerant lines are made out of a metal that allow the exchange of heat , which helps to accelerate the transfer of heat from the water to the refrigerant, making the water temperature drop sharply to the point of freezing it.
After the process is done, the ice is harvested from the machine’s walls through the use of a slowly rotating auger, which also gives it its characteristic flake shape.
Types of Flake Ice Making Machine
There are two main types of industrial flake ice machines, those that make scale ice and the ones that make granular ice. Each of them use the same basic process that all commercial flake ice machines use, but the ice they produce differ in size and in cooling characteristics.
Scale ice machines create flat pieces of thin ice which have a large area of contact, and is most commonly used to cool off concrete and in the fishing industry. These type of machines are usually very big, and can produce several tons of ice scales every day, but storing them can become a problem since they tend to form into lumps at temperatures above zero.
On the other hand, granular ice machines are generally much smaller which makes them a good option for supermarkets, food chains, bars, fish stores, chemical laboratories, etc. They create small pieces of ices which are similar to coarse snow and has similar cooling characteristics than scale ice, but it’s easier to store since it doesn’t form lumps when stored at temperatures above zero.
Commercial Uses of Flake Ice
Thanks to its fast cooling speeds and its convenient size, ice flakes are used in a variety of industries to cool anything from food to chemicals.
Commercial flake ice maker are heavily used in the food industry. Ice flakes are always used to store and display fish, where thanks to its lack of hard edges it can keep the fish hydrated and cool without bruising it. In restaurants and bars, ice flakes are used to keep drinks and salads cool, which in turn helps to enhance their flavor and presentation.
Ice flakes are also used in many laboratories and hospitals, where they keep different types of samples cool and preserve them for longer period of time out of a refrigerator. This allows doctors and medical researchers to examine the samples without having to constantly refrigerate them.
Ice flakes are also heavily used in industrial processes that require a quick chilling of a product. That’s why it’s used heavily when mixing concrete, or even to chill dough in bakeries.