Commercial ice machines have a unique marketing benefit; their model numbers are often based on production capability that is achieved under ideal conditions that are pretty much non-existent in the field, at least in the summer months when the demand for ice is at its peak.
While nearly all manufacturers of commercial ice machines, unlike Volkswagen, publish true production numbers, the model number of the machine which automatically becomes the de facto industry nomenclature, (for example, “1800 pounder, etc.”) is the jargon in which the machines are traded. In commercial ice machines that are mechanically sound, there are two main factors that govern the amount of ice produced and these factors are simply water temperature and air temperature.
All of the major commercial ice machine manufacturers show two sets of testing parameters. The ideal conditions as mentioned above are 70F air temperature and 50F water temperature. And the less than ideal test conditions are 90F air temperature and 70F water temperature. You will be greatly surprised to see how much of a difference in ice production actually results from the difference in operating conditions.
For demonstration purposes, let’s take a look at the Scotsman C1848 ice maker, which is referred to as the aforementioned “1800 pounder”. According to the latest information obtained today 10/13/15, from the Scotsman website, this model, in an air-cooled format, produces a very respectable 1909 lbs. of ice at the 70/50F ambient air/water temperatures in 24 hours. However, the exact same machine records an incredible drop of 382 lbs. of ice production when the ambient temperatures are increased by only 20 degrees, to the 90/70F level.
So, basically, to get back to that original 1909 lbs. of production at 90/70F, you would have to get an additional machine, a “500 pounder” like the Scotsman C0530, which is rated to produce 380 lbs. of ice per day at 90/70F. Once you acquire this extra “500 pounder”, you will only be 2 lbs. short of the “1800 pounder’s” 70/50F production. And this does not even take into consideration that additional real world situations like a dirty condenser or partially clogged water filter will even further impact production in a negative way.
The point of this blog is not to ridicule the manufacturers of commercial ice makers, it is to illustrate the point that the best way to acquire ice making equipment is from a source that can understand and process all the factors that are involved and too often ignored by restaurant supply houses and restaurant operators as well.