There is little to no doubt that the development in science we have seen in recent centuries is unparalleled. What brings even more strength to this statement is the fact that a hundred years ago, humans didn’t even have an ice-making machine. This may sound absurd, but it is really true. In fact, most of the people in hotter regions of the world were deprived of this necessity we have today in the form of ice.
You must be wondering, “How did people get by with their chilling needs then?” Well, the answer is simple, and it is through import. Yes, we used to actually import ice from colder regions of the world since, at that time, we were incapable of making ice on our own. Not only was this a hectic procedure which resulted in wastage of a great amount of ice, but this basic necessity was also costing people a lot of money. As a matter of fact, people actually began seeing ice as a rare luxury.
However, all of this started changing upon the invention of a freezer. Although the inventor isn’t mentioned in our textbooks, we can’t deny the importance of their creation. Then came Ice Makers, which allowed us to make our very own ice without importing it from other countries as we used to in the past. With that being said, even though this machine belongs in the majority of our homes, the truth is that most of us don’t even know how it works.
If you have an interest in learning more about the working of Ice Makers, you’ve clicked on the right article. Today, we are going to delve deep into how Ice Makers actually produce ice. Moreover, we are well aware of the fact that there are various types of Ice Makers. Accordingly, we will be sharing with you guys the working mechanisms for all of them.
What was before the Ice Maker?
Before we begin with its working, let’s first look at the options we used to have back when the Ice Maker didn’t exist. Most people used a plastic ice tray for making their ice cubes. The procedure was simple: you just fill the ice trays with water and put them into the freezer. After waiting several hours, you take them out and extract all the ice cubes.
However, with Ice Makers, you won’t have to go through all that botheration. Now, Ice Makers do all the work for you and simply provide you with ice cubes. So, if you don’t have an Ice Maker at home right now, do yourself a favor and get one today. Not only will it save you a lot of time and effort, but also deliver ice cubes much faster.
How does an Ice Maker work?
In order for Ice Makers to work, the users would have to take care of a couple of tasks as well. First of all, you would have to hook them up to the electrical circuit that powers your refrigerator. Another thing that you must do is connect it to your house’s plumbing line so that the freshwater can be provided. With this, your Ice Maker should be fully ready to supply you with ice cubes whenever you need them.
As for the insides of an Ice Maker, there is an electric motor inside the majority of them. Other components include an electrical heating unit and an electrically operated water valve. All of these components work together to produce ice. More specifically, they follow a procedure that results in the creation of ice which we’ll be having a look at now.
Ice Creation Procedure
Although there are several types of Ice Makers out there, most of them follow the same procedure. With that being said, a few variations will still be present and this is why we thought to cover this procedure for each individual Ice Maker type we could find.
For Standard Ice Makers
Before we begin, we should first tell you that the cooling is performed by the refrigerator itself and the Ice Maker doesn’t contribute to it at all. If we have that clear, this process begins with the activation of the water valve that is controlled by a timer.
The result of this is in the form of ice mold which is created in just a few seconds. Very soon, the ice finally gets frozen and the thermostat catches it. This is where the heating unit comes into play which softens the edges of the cubes by warming the mold. With this, our ice cubes have been formed.
However, there is much more to an Ice Maker than just creating ice. The next thing that an Ice Maker does is send its created ice cubes into the storage bin. This is made possible with the help of a shaft with small arms (that is attached to a motor) which extracts the cubes out of the tray. One thing to note here is that the ice-making process doesn’t begin until the ice cubes are sent to the storage bin. As a matter of fact, the second cycle will only start once the arm fails to detect any ice.
For Commercial Ice Makers
Although standard Ice Makers work the same way, they are not capable of producing a lot of ice. Accordingly, they aren’t a good fit for companies that have to produce tons of ice each day. For such companies, commercial Ice Makers would be a lot more suitable since they can yield more ice. In such an appliance, you are bound to find a large metal ice-cube tray. Apart from that, there is also a requirement of a refrigeration system, supply of water, and an ice collection mechanism.
Commercial Ice Makers have a metal ice tray attached to coiled heat-exchanging pipes, similar to the ones you’ll find in your refrigerator. The metal ice tray is then cooled as the temperature of these pipes is reduced. This drop is observed as the refrigerant first turns into liquid and then gas. This evaporation consumes the heat energy of the metal pipes and thus, the surrounding air becomes cold.
Commercial Ice Makers are different from the home ones in that they freeze water layer by layer. What this does is that it doesn’t let the ice get cloudy. As a result, you would often see clear ice coming out of commercial Ice Makers. Once a certain amount of time has passed, the path of the refrigerant will be changed. This gas will then return to the evaporator, but there’s no condensing involved. And, since such hot gas interacts with the evaporator pipes, the ice cubes get detached from the ice tray.
The ice tray in such systems is placed in a certain angle which allows ice cubes to simply slide down into the collection bin. However, this isn’t the case for every commercial Ice Maker out there. Many of them come with a cylinder piston that pushes the tray until the cubes fall out.
For Flake Ice Makers
These types of Ice Makers aren’t that much different from the standard ones. As a matter of fact, the only difference is that these ones accompany another component known as the ice crusher. The entire cooling process remains the same, but ice is formed in the shape of a cylinder. The ice is then detached in the same way as well. However, instead of falling into the collection bin, the cylinder then goes to the ice crusher.
Once it reaches there, the process of breaking the ice into small pieces begins. Only after that does the ice get sent to the collection bit for users to take advantage of. Another thing worth noting here is that the mechanism of the ice crusher dictates the size of the ice bits. Accordingly, all flake Ice Makers don’t have to yield ice bits of the same size. More specifically, some crushers yield ice chunks of irregular shapes, while others make fine flakes out of the ice.
If you’ve been using a refrigerator for making ice cubes, an Ice Maker could really come in handy. It has a great number of advantages, but the most important one is that you won’t have to do everything manually. So, say goodbye to filling the ice trays with water yourself and taking the ice cubes out afterward by getting an Ice Maker.
Although this appliance is greatly used now, most people don’t know what goes into making ice for such machines. However, if you’ve thoroughly read this article, there’s a good chance that you now know all the ins and outs of how Ice Makers work. Moreover, with this much knowledge of how Ice Makers work, we are sure that you can even handle some troubleshooting if need be. This marks the end of our article and we really hope that we were able to provide you with some highly informational stuff.
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