What’s Going on Inside Your Commercial Ice Maker?

Have you ever wondered why the ice maker inside your refrigerator at home struggles compared to the commercial ice machines found in most restaurant kitchens? All Temp, your Tampa ice machine services experts, walks you through how exactly your commercial ice machine works — and why the ice it makes is often higher quality.

Close up of ice


Before you can fully understand how your commercial ice maker works, it’s important to understand the refrigeration process. Your commercial refrigerator is made of five basic components: fluid refrigerant, condenser coils, evaporator coils, expansion device, and the compressor. The compressor raises the fluid refrigerant’s vapor and then pushes the vapor into the condenser coils found on the outside of the refrigerator. When the hot vapor meets the cooler temperature of the kitchen, it becomes a liquid and flows into the coils inside the freezer and refrigerator. It then absorbs any of the heat inside the refrigerator, keeping it cool. Finally, the refrigerant evaporates back to a gas and flows back to the compressor to start the cycle over again. 

Close up of ice

Making Ice

Think of your commercial ice machine as a giant ice tray. The ice maker pours water from a collection sump over that tray. Water is poured slowly onto the tray to create vertical layers. By freezing in small layers, the ice machine is preventing trapped air. It’s what makes restaurant ice clear, rather than the cloudy ice you might be used to at home. 

Once frozen, the ice tray, which is connected to a set of coiled heat exchanging pipes, uses re-directed heat from the compressor or a mechanical trigger to release the ice. Some ice machines are slanted, which encourages the ice to slide out on its own, while other ice machines have a cylinder piston to knock the ice out if its tray.

Finding the right ice machine for your space can be difficult. All Temp, experts in Tampa ice machine services, can help you find the best unit for your kitchen. Just give us a call at (813) 630-9400 or contact us online. To learn more about choosing your next ice machine and even choosing the right ice shape for your business needs, check out our blog.

Posted in Ice Machine Services