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Best Commercial Ice Maker

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One is a flaker ice machine. Flaker ice machines make two types of ice. They make flaked or snowflake type of ice that looks like a snowflake — it’s just a shaved piece of flaked ice. The other type of ice style machine of ice flaker type is a nugget ice, a soft, chewable nugget that you find at Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Express, Braum’s, Sonic drive ins. It’s very popular right now. People love soft chewable ice. So let’s take a look at a flaker ice machine. We’ll walk through so you can see how this makes ice, the advantages to it. Flaker and nugget ice machines cost more than cubers. The initial up front cost of that is higher. You can take a smaller ice machine and get a higher production value out of it in a pound per ice type of situation on a flaker and nugget machine than you can a cuber because the way it makes ice, there’s not the downtime of the machine going into harvest. So when this machine is on, it’s always making ice. Here’s basically how it makes ice. This is the drum, inside the drum, is a stainless steel core and the water pours down the core and that core is what’s freezing cold and ice forms up on the core.  In the middle of the core is a screw augur that continually goes around and around and as the ice touches the screw auger, it shaves it off the sides of the stainless steel drum. It will drive it up here and then it will drop it down this chute into the bin. So water comes down. There’s a gear housing down here, and a gear housing up here and those hold the augur in and they spin the augur around and around and the flaked ice will come up and then fall down into the bin.Now what’s the only difference between a flaker ice machine and a nugget ice machine? A nugget ice machine (you could probably pretty easy make this a nugget ice machine) –  just put an extruder on the top of it. That’s going to be something where the ice goes through and it compacts out and there will be a knife on top of the extruder and as the compressed flaked ice comes up there’s a knife that rotates around and will cut the nugget pellets. Different companies will have different size nuggets because of the timing of the knife. That’s why some companies have longer, some companies have shorter or smaller nugget pieces of ice. Nugget ice is nothing more than compressed, flaked ice.The advantage of this is, it’s very popular. Flaked ice is used in produce, in displaying fish, in packing meat products, for shipping — you can get it into nooks and crevices. You can pack it in there. The disadvantages to a flake or nugget ice is it has a high water content, and therefore it melts quicker. It doesn’t last a long time. There’s a lot of water and air in there, so that ice doesn’t stand up to a cube. It’s going to disappear a lot quicker than a solid piece of ice.Here’s the real bad downfall about a flaker and nugget ice machine. You’ve got this bearing at the bottom, a bearing at the top. Remember you have the augur that runs up and down through here. That augur continually turns. If this machine is in high production, and this is any machine, any manufacturer—Hoshizaki, Ice O Matic, Scotsman, Manitowoc, ITV, it doesn’t make any difference which manufacturer. If this machine is blowing and going 24/7, you can count on 100% of the time, the bearings are going to go out.  When they go out, what happens is they’ll start spitting grease because they’re packed in bearing grease. You’ll start getting some grease in there. The augur will start wobbling and start shaving the sides of the evaporator.  You’ll get some metal shavings in your ice. It’ll start grinding, and the bearings have to be changed out. It’s typically, depending on the machine, somewhere between a $700-$1,100 job to come out and change the top and bottom bearings. And that’s if you catch it before it scores up the augur and scores up the evaporator. If it does that, then it’s an even larger cost. That’s something you need to know going in. it’s an expense. You’ll be without the machine for the day – that’s a full day job changing the bearing out. Doesn’t matter what manufacturer you buy, it’s going to happen. So, that’s just a high ticket. That’s why all the warranties on these machines are two years.All Cuber ice machines come with three years’ warranty, with five years on the compressor and condenser.
Cuber machines have several types of ice. You’ve got a Kold-Draft half cube, full cube,
- those are very slow melting. We have an, ITV called an alpha cube, gala cube, full dice cube, and we’re out of them right now, but we have half dice cube. If you’re serving more Coca-Cola’s, McDonald’s style, you’re going to want a half-dice cube. If you’re serving more high end beverages, you’re going to want something fancier, something with some character something that’s slower melting that makes a difference for your 8, 9, 10 dollar cocktails. We’d love to talk with you 817-888-3056.
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