Self Contained Ice Machines: Ice and Storage All in One
Commercial ice makers or ice machines are vital in industries where vast amounts of ice are needed hour after hour throughout the day. Of course depending on the context of the commercial environment the needs an ice maker has to meet can vary drastically. Self-contained ice machines are popular in the commercial world because they’re generally relatively easy to install and maintain. This type of ice machine doesn’t need an additional storage bin to be attached to it in order for it to be operational. For example, a modular ice machine might be able to produce as much as 500 pounds of ice in a single 24-hour period, but it will have to be combined with storage bin for the ice it’s producing. The good thing about self-contained ice machines is that they can perform the task of producing large amounts of ice as well as providing space for storage.
Even though a self-contained ice machine fulfills a specific type of ice production needs, these units still come in a variety of different models. Some self-contained ice machines are large, wide and can produce almost as much as 400 pounds of ice a day. Other ice makers that are self-contained are thinner, and better able to fit in small corners or tight under-counter areas. Also, another thing to keep in mind is the type of ice that you want your ice machine to produce. It’s possible to find self-contained commercial ice machines that make almost any type of ice type, from cube to flake-type ice. Take a look at some of the varieties and features offered on today’s market to find the perfect self-contained commercial ice machine for your company.
Understanding the Self-Contained
It might be assumed that self-contained ice makers are meant for industries that don’t require huge amounts of ice. This is a common misconception since some self-contained ice makers will actually produce upwards of 300 pounds of ice in a single, 24 hour period. Depending on your needs, this might be plenty of ice. A lot of self-contained machines are also quite a bit smaller than heavier modular units. And of course, the self-contained ice machine requires no additional storage hookup. Since ice production and storage are both covered with units like this, in smaller commercial settings they’re especially useful. A self-contained ice machine works on multiple levels. It is at once energy efficient since it uses less water and less energy, and space-saving since they’re generally thinner and shorter than your traditional commercial ice maker.
Oftentimes self-contained units are described as “undercounter.” This means a couple of things. The first being that the self-contained ice maker will be short enough to fit under most counters or kitchen islands. This means they will usually be under 40 inches high. An undercounter self-contained unit is also liable to be bit thinner in width. A lot of these type of ice machines will fall in a range of 14 to 30 inches. Keep in mind that even though these ice machines are quite a bit more compact than most commercial units, they’ll still be bigger than your typical residential ice making appliance, especially when being compared to countertop units.
Typical Ice Types
Like previously mentioned, you can find self-contained ice machines that make whatever type of ice you’re looking to produce. Some ice types are more desirable in certain contexts.
This type of ice has seen a lot of different types of names. It’s been called nugget ice, hospital ice, and even Sonic ice after the fast-food chain that famously puts it in its customizable drinks. Whatever you call this type, the expectations are for small, chewable nuggets of opaque ice. For self-contained units, this is one of the more popular types of ice-type. Great for hospitals because of how easy to chew this ice-type is, it also does well in a variety of commercial restaurant environments.
This ice type is also known by a couple of different names. Gourmet, or as it is sometimes called, “top-hat” ice, is generally clear in and comes in a cylindrical or roundish shape. One end has a ridge or brim, giving it the nickname top-hat ice. This ice type is common in high end restaurants or bars, and is typically slow-melting which it allows it to survive in the drink longer. Bartenders like this ice type for non-blended drinks. Since this ice type is clear, it might take longer to produce than other types a self-contained unit might produce.
This is such a classic ice type, it may be the most ubiquitous among all types of ice makers, self-contained or otherwise. Cube ice is typically clear and, predictably, cube-shaped. Often called dice ice, this type can come in a number of varying sizes. Sometimes you’ll see ice-types called half-cube and full cube. Often times if a self-contained ice machine has cube type ice it will also have options to change the size of the ice.
Always a popular ice type, flake ice can be used in a number of different settings. For instance, it is quite popular in display situations. Think sushi, vegetable, fruit, or meat displays; often time the product is placed on beds of flake ice. This helps keep the food cold and allows it to stand out against the white ice bed. In this way flake-ice machines are popular in grocery or convenient store settings.
Smart Units, Smart Ice
Perhaps the most efficient and easily operable type of ice machine, the self-contained ice maker boasts a number of features that make it both a viable and intelligent choice for so many types of industry or commercial settings. Also, since a self-contained ice maker is combination of storage and production it’s generally easier to maintain. Additionally, worrying about storage-bin conversion kits that some modular units require becomes a thing of the past with self-contained ice makers. Check out some of the fantastic and affordable options that are available today.