Ice is something we take for granted, as ridiculous as that sounds, it really is. We take water for granted, but ice is something that can add a lot of flavor, so to speak, to every alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage. Who wouldn't want a nice, large glass of mineral water with lots of ice in it, when it's hot and humid outside? Ice machines are, simply put, machines that produce ice, but things are not so simple. There's quite a few of them and we've done our best to describe each category.
Industrial ice makers are the backbone of the food industry and machines that keep all sorts of products healthy and safe. They're often referred to as commercial ice machines, because they are commonly used by large businesses and in the food industry. They use moving water, which improves the quality of the ice that they make. They produce pure, hard, clear ice, but commercial ice makers can produce different shapes and sizes of ice, depending on the need, including cube, octagon, tube and crushed ice.
Restaurant and fish shop owners, for example, often prefer a small commercial ice maker, as opposed to a big one meant for industrial complexes, since they take up a lot of space and still manage to produce enough ice to keep the food safe and properly cooled. Small, portable ice makers that many of us have home do not compare to these large machines, but are probably good enough to satisfy the needs of the average person, just looking to cool down their drink or make a cocktail. While everyone has their own needs and preferences, it's safe to say that industrial ice makers are the cream of the ice making industry and the most elaborate machines, by far.
Clearly, this is reflected in the price too - these types of ice makers do not come cheap, but they most certainly pay off since pretty much all they need to function properly is some water and, of course, electricity to keep them running.
Pellet Ice Maker
Pellet ice makers, sometimes better known as nugget ice makers, are specialized ice making machines that produce small, rounded pieces of ice that can be added to drinks or even chewed on. These are very different from big, industrial machines and are most commonly used by everyday people, looking for a way to cool down their drinks or add a bit more of a punchy taste to their summer refreshments. A pellet ice machine can be considered a primarily soft ice maker, since the ice that these machines produce is quite different from that produced by commercial ice makers - apart from being a lot softer, it is not nearly as pure or hard.
Thankfully, there are many different kinds of pellet ice makers available on the market today, in varying sizes and shapes, featuring different sets of specifications. This is perhaps the main reason they've become so popular. They're widely available and there is a machine for every budget, so households all across America and the rest of the world have them. Kids love them, they're perfect for fruit salads, shakes and whatnot, while adults like adding them to cocktail drinks such as margaritas. A truly multi-functional kitchen appliance, nugget ice makers have become an integral part of every modern kitchen.
Flake Ice Machine
Flake ice machines are quite specific and can be considered a real rarity in the entire industry. What's so unique about them is the fact that they produce so called flake ice. But, what is flake ice? Flake ice is a mixture of brine and water and this type of ice is sometimes made directly out of brine water. In case you don't know what brine is, it is a mixture of salty water, often used in the food industry to preserve freshness in all sorts of foods.
So, what does a flake ice maker or a flaker even do? These machines are primarily used in fast cooling of sea products, they can even make ice directly from sea water, which saves a lot of time and money. Since flake ice has a unique shape, it does not damage the food, as other kinds of ice sometimes do, it is applied in meat and vegetable transporting. However, this is not where the application of this type of ice ends. Bakers add it, during mixing of milk and flour, to prevent their products from raising.
Still, the food industry is not the only industry in which flake ice has a secured spot. In construction, this type of ice is used during the concrete cooling process - it prevents concrete from cracking. Ski resorts, entertainment parks and similar places all use flake for artificial snowing. Flakers are pretty much a must in quite a few different industries and they are what keeps these industries running, keeping food safe and bacteria-free, helping it get transported safely, aiding bakers, builders and even ski resort owners in the process.
Commercial Ice Bin
Every good restaurant has one, every bar needs to have one and every home should have one - we are talking, of course, about commercial ice bins. These ice storage bins keep the service industry running. They're quite large and spacious, meant to fit as much ice as possible. They preserve the coolness of the ice, while keeping it all in one place, safe and ready to be put into drinks and beverages.
A drop in ice bin is what you might often see in a large restaurant, but in places such as cafeterias, an ice container would not be an uncommon sight - these giants can fit enough ice to cater to hundreds of people with ease. Waiters, cooks, cocktail makers, barmen and cafeteria workers need these machines to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. On the other hand, a nice ice bin cooler could be the best option for the average person's home, the dining room perhaps. Ice bin coolers have a unique look about them and most can be closed up and carried around, but they preserve the coolness, leaving the ice intact, which makes them great for picnics or the beach (if they're small enough to be carried around), but they're also great for home use. Just place the bin in the corner of your kitchen or on the counter and get ice from it whenever you want.