Like your ice machine head, the ice storage bin you select will be important in meeting your ice demands during the day. Ice is a food product and as such the storage of ice should reflect both the ice demands and food safety. The main drivers in ice storage are:
- Capacity – Always have an ice storage bin that will hold slightly more than your peak 24 hour period of ice. If you have a 400 lb demand for ice each day, you should consider a bin that has a 500 lb capacity. A 20% buffer between your peak demand and your actual storage will help hedge against increased demands for ice. If your demands are larger like over 1000 lbs a day, then a 10% increase will suffice.
- Schedule – The rate at which you consume ice also drives how much ice you store. Your location may need 600 lbs of ice for events twice a week but very little during the rest of the week. For example, many churches utilize 300 lb cubers with 600 lb bins because they have the luxury of having a few days to have the ice bin fill up and then another few day to recover.
- Demand Within The 24 Hour Period – Usage patterns also drive ice storage bin sizes; as you consume ice, ice is also being produced and added back into the bin. If you start the day with a full ice bin, then add into your calculation the amount of ice per hour that will be added to the bin. For example, if you have a 500 lb ice machine cuber, it will produce approximately 21 lbs. an hour. Incorporate replenishment ice into your bin size. If you need 400 lbs of ice a day an know your ice maker will add 100lbs of replenishment ice into the ice storage bin during the peak periods, then you your may only need a 300- 350 lb bin.
What To Avoid When Sizing and Using Your Ice Storage Bin
- Oversizing – Having an ice storage bin that is twice as large as your daily demand will use more utilities because the ice will melt. Also, the ice will not be used as frequently and will stagnate some. Ice bins do better when then are close to emptied out each day by demand. Less algae will build up.
- Undersizing – Undersizing is the most painful mistake because your customers get shortchanged or you are stuck running out to buy ice. Your ice machine will stop making ice based on the probe that tells the ice machine when to stop production. If you are undersized, you will always start the day chasing demand.
- Negligence – Ice Storage Bins should be cleaned at the same time ice machine heads are being cleaned. Yes, most manufacturers offer ice storage bins with antimicrobial walls; however, wiping down the interior with a sanitizer will produce the cleanest ice in the long term.
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