I am picking up some new skills. One of the more interesting things I learned this past week is how our ice machines work.
While on the one hand you would think it would fill a tray up with water somehow figure out when it is frozen and dump it out. Nope. The ice tray is a 16 x 13 cube matrix that stays vertical in the machine. The refrigerant keeps this tray cold and water runs down it continuously. There is a sensor that knows when the ice is frozen, about a sixteenth of an inch sheet of ice that "attaches" the cubes together. Once that happens the machine reverses the refrigerant, putting the hot fluid against the tray and out pops 208 little ice cubes. The ice that has the hollow spot in it is ice that is made by this waterfall method.
The thing is that it takes a minimum of twenty minutes to create a tray of ice. The machines sit on top of real ice boxes. I say real only because they contain no refrigeration at all. They are simply insulated boxes. It can take over twenty-four hours to totally fill the box. That is if no one takes out any ice. Well, in the winter time, these boxes stay pretty much filled to the top.
We have finally had a few consecutive days of heat. This causes a run on the ice. The five gallon buckets certainly do not have much of an insulating factor and so the ice melts in them a lot faster when the temperature is in the 80's than when it is in the 40's and 50's. The point is once everyone starts taking shovels full of ice to fill their buckets, the machine can not keep up.
The interesting thing is all the misinformation about the machines. For example, there are plenty of people that believe that if they so not take any of the ice out for several hours, somehow the machine will then work faster. I have tried to educate my fellow inmates on the math. Every twenty minutes you get 208 cubes. So if you do not touch the box, in two hours you will have 1,248 cubes. If you take out 208 cubes every twenty minutes you will still end up with 1,248 cubes.
We get calls from the units that their ice machines do not work. We unhook them, bring them to the shop, hook them up, and plug them in and sure enough twenty minutes later you have ice. The machine is working fine. It would make sense for them to sell some type of foam cooler that would certainly make the ice last longer.
Wow almost a whole page on ice machines, are you bored yet?