Operators must determine both their current and future needs in how the slicer will be utilized prior to purchasing this equipment. Here are several factors foodservice operators should weigh when purchasing slicers.
When specifying a slicer, operators should figure out how many hours it will be used daily. This will help determine whether a light-, medium- or heavy-duty unit is needed.
Heavy-duty, high-volume slicers cut in varying thickness and offer oversized 13-inch chrome-plated blades for busy operations. For foodservice operations that will utilize the slicer for one to four hours a day, a medium-duty type will suffice. These slicers typically slice without manually feeding product onto the carriage.
For minimal slicing that will occur between 30 minutes to an hour a day, a light-duty slicer should be sufficient.
Horsepower is another consideration when purchasing a slicer. Slicers include a belt- or gear-driven knife motor that ranges from ¼ to ½ hp. Automatic slicers feature a separate DC motor driven by a chain and sprocket system and end-users can disengage it for manual operation.
The width and height of the product being sliced will determine the appropriate knife diameter. The larger the product being sliced, the bigger the knife required. Available sizes are 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14 inches.
Slicers can be hazardous to operate by inexperienced personnel. Depending on the experience of the staff, additional safety features may be needed to protect operators during operation and cleanup. These include table walkout mechanisms or interlocks that prevent the slicer from being turned on if the carriage is removed or can lock out the blade if the carriage tray is removed. Slicers are available with several interlocks that not only help with safety, but also conserve energy by shutting off the machine automatically after inactivity. Features that allow the operator to quickly turn off the slicer and child-proof safety switches also are available.