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Ice machine refers to an appliance included in some electric gadgets for making ice cubes. However, stand-alone icemakers also exist. An ice machine consists of a refrigerator, dispenser, water supply, and a source of power (Kulling 13). Ice machines have existed for thousands of years, and have undergone numerous changes over the years in a bid to suit the needs of various users. The first design of an ice machine was first demonstrated in 1748 at the University of Glasgow. Nearly one hundred years later, John Gorrie, an American physician built a refrigerator using the design to make ice for treating some of his patients. This marked the birth of ice machines in the United States because, in 1851, the federal government awarded him with exclusive rights for his innovation (Whitman 38). This development encouraged more innovators to develop their own ice machines designed to meet the demand for ice in various fields. The first ice machine developed for commercial purposes was created in 1873 by Columbus Iron Works (Kulling 25). It is important to note that ice machines are developed using different designs that allow for the varied shapes of the ice produced. Generally, there are three types of ice, namely cube ice, flake ice, and nugget-style ice. According to experts, one of the things one should consider when buying an ice machine is the type of ice it produces and its suitability to the immediate needs (Wirz 102). Over the years, the demand for ice machines has been escalating at a high rate in both the hospitality and service industries. This demand has led to increased innovation with regard to the designs of the ice-making machines and ease of use by the consumer.
Types of Ice Produced by Ice Machines
The principle of ice making entails four crucial components, namely the evaporator, condenser, compressor, and throttle valve (Dass 118). The functionality of ice machines is universal. However, due to the different configurations and styles available in the market, it is very important to choose the machine that suits the needs of the consumer in an effective manner (Whitman 65). Ice machines produce three major types of ice. The first one is the cube ice. This is formed by allowing water poured on a plate divided into grids to freeze and form cubes. Freshwater often runs on top of the ice until it freezes to form the desired type of cubes. Cube ice is either full, half, or crescent-shaped. The characteristic features of cube ice include hardiness and long life. This explains the reason they are mostly used in convenience stores, fast food joints, beverage stores, and hotels (Wirz 111). The second one is a flake ice. This one is made using cylindrical patents where water passes through the inner walls and frozen to form the ice. The resulting layer of ice is then chopped into small flakes. Due to their soft and tiny nature, flake ice is commonly used in preserving foodstuffs that cannot be easily damaged when the ice melts. Flake ice is also used by physicians in treating their patients because they melt easily, thus cannot put a patient in any danger of chocking (Kulling 29). Other notable applications of flake ice include artificial snowing, baking, as well as storage and transportation of fruits and meat. The third type is nugget-style ice, which is formed in a similar manner to flake ice but is slightly bigger in size. The characteristic features of nugget ice are the fact that they are overly soft and chewable (Whitman 80). It is commonly used in serving drinks because of its ability to cool faster and high liquid displacement ability.
Types of Ice Making Machines
Ice making machines are developed for commercial and domestic use. In order to make the most out of the machines in terms of quality ice, the ice machines ought to be cleaned periodically (Wirz 123). This explains the reason why most of them are small and easy to operate. Built-in ice machines are specially designed to accommodate this element because simple faults such as clogged air filters and blocked water systems often affect the quality of ice produced. There are different types of ice machines designed to meet an array of needs depending on the user. One of the common types is the freezer (Kulling 30). These ones are often found in a refrigerator. The freezer has solenoid valves that collect water, which is left to freeze into ice cubes. The freezer has its own mechanism for regulating the power in a way that the ice cubes are not stuck in the mold. This makes it easy for one to remove and use the ice without it losing the desired shape. Apart from regulating the power, the time also scoops the ice cubes out of the mold into a bin that collects them for various uses (Gantz 78). The cycle repeats often until there are enough ice cubes to meet the needs of the user. Over the years, several modifications have been made for the freezer ice machine. One of the major ones has been the ability of the ice machine to dispense the ice cubes from the freezer without necessarily needing to open the door and obtain the ice (Whitman 89). Other notable changes include the ability to dispense chilled water and crushed ice depending on the specific needs of the consumer. This feature has increased the demand for this type of ice making machines across the world.
Another type is the portable ice machine. These ones are stand-alone ice machines that are not fixed to any other appliance and can be used from anywhere, as long as there is a power supply. They are fast and easy to use, thus have a higher preference compared to other models. They also have a unique design and ice making mechanism (Whitman 97). They contain metal pegs that are used in heating and freezing the water to form the ice. Once the water in the tub freezes to form the ice, the metal pegs often heat the ice to detach it from the walls and allow it to drop into a storage bin where the consumer can obtain the ice. The average time taken to make the ice using this type of ice machines is ten minutes. The other common type of ice machines is the built-in and freestanding icemakers (Schmidt 93). They produce cloudy ice because they freeze water faster compared to the other ice machines. The cloudiness is often caused by the air bubbles trapped during the freezing process. According to experts, built-in ice machines are not commonly used for commercial purposes because they have a few limitations in terms of their portability (Wirz 137). Businesses prefer using stand-alone ice machines because they enhance flexibility. In the contemporary world, it is almost mandatory for people in service and hospitality businesses to invest in an ice machine. Flake ice machines are also a commonly used type. Its design is unique in the sense that it has shafts and blades that are used in cutting the ice into flakes (Kulling 32). They also operate on low temperatures in order to enhance the process of crushing the ice by utilizing the evaporator pressure-regulating valve.
Ice machines have been in existence for thousands of years. Ice has been used to meet various needs over the years, with more uses emerging everyday. In order to meet all the needs in an effective manner, the major thing that ought to be taken into consideration is the quality of the ice. This element is solely dependent on the type of ice machine used. One of the most important elements when someone is choosing an ice machine to buy is the nature of operations. This means that the industry in which one’s operations are based in determines the type of ice machine to use. The second thing that one needs to consider is the type of ice suitable for the occasion and meeting the needs of the consumer. The different types of ice produced by the ice machine apply in various sectors depending on the cooling features. In addition, most consumers consider the reliability of the chosen ice machine in terms of meeting their needs in an effective manner and ease of operation.
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