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"THE AMOUNT OF WATER NEEDED TO PRODUCE ONE POUND OF ICE IS LESS THAN IT WAS FIVE YEARS AGO"


there is a growing trend to use more ice in drinks, notably in Europe and South America. For this reason, much of the innovation in the market is coming from the US, where manufacturers have consistently made their equipment more robust, reliable and effi cient. “There is a drive for better quality of ice-making equipment and the focus is on improving reliability and energy effi ciency, while reducing water consumption,” says Keith Kelly, executive vice president of Ice-O-Matic.


Manufacturers are not going to try to reinvent the wheel, but their efforts to innovate stem from listening to what customers need. As a result machines have become simpler to use, more versatile, effi cient and smaller. Of these, reliability and effi ciency have the most direct impact on cost and profi t.


Manufacturers such as Manitowoc Ice (top and middle) and Scotsman (above) are using improved technology to address the concerns of end users


“The demand for ice is going up, especially in the US. Fifteen years ago a standard measure for sizing an ice machine would be half a pound of ice per person. Now it’s one pound of ice per person because the standard drink size has grown,” says James Camacho FCSI, president of Camacho Associates and an experienced US foodservice consultant. “The amount of water needed to produce one pound of ice is less than it was fi ve years ago. Previously, a constant stream of water would run over the evaporator and freeze on it as the heat exchanger took out the heat. Generally, that is still the technology, but now the volume of water is much less,” he adds. “There is a big focus on saving energy because it results in saving money for the bottom line,” says Jeff Biel, director of product development at Scotsman. Scotsman has a reputation for effi ciency


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and sustainability, and its product range includes 35 Energy Star qualifi ed models. One of the innovative features it has incorporated is a bin level monitor, which uses a sensor similar to that found in car bumpers to trigger proximity alerts. The sensor signals when ice reaches the desired level, causing the icemaker to shut off. “Ice machines usually sit, forgotten, at the back of the kitchen, but energy and water have become important to users, so there has been some innovative thinking when it comes to effi ciency,” says Biel. Manitowoc Ice is another manufacturer that has incorporated programmable bin level control, along with water quality sensor probes that can reduce water usage by up to 20%. Its Indigo machine is known as “the intelligent ice machine” because it gives users greater control over water and energy use. “We have developed machines that can be programmed to work during off-peak times to reduce cost and then store the ice until it is needed,” says Ty Jones of Manitowoc Ice.


Maintenance made easy Innovation is a prime focus for Manitowoc Ice, which has the largest market share in the US. Its top product can make 1,500kg of ice per day, but it has a range of models to suit smaller premises. In all of its machines there is an emphasis on improving hygiene and ensuring that maintenance is simple. The Indigo machine features intelligent diagnostics to monitor the operational health of the equipment, constantly storing data on its performance and using an early warning system to prevent breakdowns. Furthermore, the Active Clean system provides one-touch cleaning


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