Ice Machine Configurations: The Different Styles
Styles of the Ice
All commercial ice machines essentially create ice in the same way. Though, different types of ice are made differently. There are 3 basic types of ice, with some variation on those ice styles: Cube Ice, Flake Ice, and Nugget-style Ice. When choosing your ice machine, consider what style of ice you are looking for. Different types of ice are more suitable for specific applications.
Cube Ice is made by running water over a freezing evaporator plate which is usually divide up into a grid. All of the purest water will freeze first and begin to form the ice. As the water is pumped back up and over the plate, the ice begins to mature until it is the appropriate cube size and is free from the evaporator plate.
Cube Ice has numerous different forms. Standard Full Cube ice usually measures 6/8″ by 6/8″ by 6/8″. Most manufacturers also have models that create a Half Cube which is 6/8″ by 6/8″ by 4/8″. At least one brand, Hoshizaki, has patented a unique Crescent-shaped Ice that is 6/8″ by 6/8″ and about 4/8″ thick. On the other hand one face is flat and the other face is curved. And other brands have their own semi-circular cube ice.
Flake Ice is made in a completely different way than cube ice. Most producers have their own patented auger-type evaporator cylinders. Water is spurted on the inner surface of the cylinder and starts to freeze into a thin layer. A rotating auger chops the thin ice into lesser flakes. The rotating auger blades force the loose ice flakes up to the top of the tube and out, where it falls over the ends of the auger like snow.
Nugget Ice is actually popular form of ice. It is also called cubelet ice, chewblet ice, and pearl Ice. A popular national restaurant chain has also lent its very ‘sound’ name to the nugget ice style. Nugget ice is round, small, irregularly-shaped balls of ice about the size of a marble.
Nugget ice is basically flake ice that has been formed in the auger cylinder and then when it reaches the top of the cylinder, it is forced out through extruders that firmly compress the flake ice into the nugget shapes and let it to fall as small balls or clusters.