Hoshizaki Ice Maker Buyer’s Guide

Hoshizaki is one of the best known names in the restaurant industry. The company was created in the late 1940’s in Japan. Today Hoshizaki is among the top manufacturers of refrigeration equipment for the food and hospitality industries worldwide. Most of the equipment sold in United States is manufactured locally. From 2005 to 2008 Hoshizaki has won the Dealer Design Award.

Some of the equipment offered by Hoshizaki includes: cube ice makers, flake ice machines, filtration systems, storage, ice dispensers, preparation tables, refrigerated displays, remote condensed units, stands, water dispensers, countertop and undercounter fridges.

This article will discuss the most important aspects to be considered when buying a commercial ice making equipment, and it should help you find the right Hoshizaki product for your business’ needs.

Certain types of ice are specific to an application. Restaurants are going to need a different type of ice than for example a physical therapist office or a school’s physical education department. Physical therapists use nugget ice because it is good for therapeutic applications. It helps slow inflammation, swelling and minimizes pain after an injury has occurred.

Nugget ice is versatile and slow melting. It cools drinks rapidly without foaming, and provides high liquid displacement which results in increased profits. Nugget ice is often used in bar fountain beverages, blended cocktails, salad bars, produce displays. It is also suggested for therapeutic uses and patient care.

Diced cubed ice is the most commonly used type of ice. It is perfect for mixed drinks, carbonated beverages, ice dispensing, ice displays, ice retailing and banquet services.

Flaked ice consists of dry flakes, which cool more quickly than other ice forms. It molds to any shape which is useful in displays and salad bars. Flaked ice is also ideal for health care facility use in therapeutic patient care.

One of the more common mistakes that people make is underestimating the amount of ice that they in fact need for their facility. In general you should lean towards over-sizing the ice bin. Here is an example of a situation where over-sizing an ice bin was a great decision by a customer:

A customer buys an ice maker that produces 300 lbs of ice and a bin that holds that quantity plus has additional room for another 50 lbs of ice. The customer lets his ice machine run until the bin has reached its maximum fill capacity. For two days he serves 300 lbs of ice and on the third day he has more business. Were it not for the cushion he gave himself by purchasing a bin that could hold more ice he would not have been able to serve his customers, which would have equaled a loss of profit. Going to a larger bin costs a lot less than increasing the size of the machine. Generally, electrical costs are less at night and the kitchen is cooler, making the machine more effective. Ice in the bin can generally last 24 hours if the cover is not left open. Additionally, no bin is ever allowed to fill to its true capacity because a sensor stops making ice when the bin is filled to about 3/4 capacity. This is another reason to buy a larger bin.

One more thing to keep in mind is that most units will not produce the amount of ice they are said to produce unless conditions are perfect (cold water and ambient temp). With that in mind assess whether or not your location has these ideal conditions. If not then choose a model that makes more ice and/or consider a larger bin so that night production can be captured.

It is very important to pick a machine based on your capacity to keep it in a well ventilated area. A well ventilated area is one that is below 80°. Ice machines are cooled by one of three ways: air-cooled, water-cooled and remote air-cooled.

Air-cooled ice makers use the most energy but in the long run are not as expensive as water-cooled machines. They are also favorable in locations where the cost of water is high.

Water-cooled models are more efficient and ideal for locations where the environment is hostile (i.e. high ambient air and water temperatures).

Remote air-cooled models work by moving heat created by the ice making process away from the machine and outside of the building. The remote air condenser should be placed somewhere where the temperature is as moderate and consistent as possible. Such models are ideal for locations where the ambient temperature is over 80°. Remote air-cooled models generally require extra installation costs however the upside is that they save money on additional indoor air conditioning costs because the heat they generate gets pushed outside of the facility. Additionally, a remote unit will run more efficiently and produce more ice.

Using a factory recommended filter reduces servicing needs by as much as 60%. It also produces better tasting ice.