Consultant Q&A: Steve Waltz, senior associate/project manager, Cini-Little International Inc., Baltimore

FE&S: How have ice requirements impacted the industry?

SW: Ice makers are changing. Ice requirements for stadiums, and big events are looking to use mass producers. These venues require thousands of pounds of ice. Also, large cubes and specialty ice for high-end spirits are big. It’s how ice is evolving.

FE&S: What are the ambient temperature considerations?

SW: Ice makers can overheat in hot environments. If this is a problem in kitchens, a remote ice machine is best located on the roof or outside so efficiency is not reduced.

FE&S: In what situations is it best to choose a remote ice machine?

SW: The reason people use remote ice machine compressors is to get the machine’s heat load out of buildings. It prevents foodservice operators from using extra air conditioning. However, remote compressors do not reduce the size of the ice maker since it is the bin that takes up the most space.

FE&S: What is the latest technology with remote ice machines?

SW: These are standard, so there are no new features; however, Freon is evolving. This is driven by the 
Environmental Protection Agency, which is trying to make refrigerants more environmentally friendly. Ice maker performance is being impacted by these changes.

FE&S: What should operators consider when purchasing a remote ice maker?

SW: There are a number of mounting considerations. Distance from the machine to the condenser is the biggest factor. The location shouldn’t be more than 50 feet from one end to the other, but 25 feet is ideal. This is because Freon is being pumped to the ice maker from the compressor, and the greater the distance, the more cooling is lost. If the line is longer, it’s best to increase the compressor size to compensate. In regions with hotter temperatures, like Arizona or Florida, it’s best to stay within 25 feet of the ice maker.

FE&S: What are the installation concerns with these units?

SW: The install with remote units is more expensive. It’s necessary to hire a professional to install the compressor and run refrigeration lines. If it’s on the roof, this needs to be penetrated and sealed properly. If the compressor is water-cooled versus air-cooled, there are more installation options since the air is not cooling the unit.