Ice is a resource that is used more than many people realize. In addition to any ice that a homeowner uses around his or her house, ice is necessary in the transportation and storage of all kinds of food. Where does it all come from? It depends on the company, but with all the different kinds of ice that are available, it’s safe to say that most ice comes from a machine that received a package from a bulk ice company. Industrial-sized machines designed to distribute huge amounts of ice quickly are designed slightly different than the ice machine you’re likely to run into at the grocery store or gas station. Many of these industrial machines have a part not always found on smaller machines: an ice rake. It might not seem like much at first glance, but rakes are a crucial and beneficial part to creating and maintaining sanitary and affordable ice for all kinds of uses.

What Are Ice Rakes?

Ice rakes are often found in bulk ice storage systems. Although there may be slightly different types depending on the bin being used, most are similar in appearance and function. The rakes are spaced between motorized components to move endlessly over the length of a bin, or at least until the bin registers as full. Even when described in detail, many people envision these rakes as being fairly small. However, the bin itself is usually the size of an entire room, and the rake is designed to span the length of the bin, and often the width, as well.

How They Are Used

Large ice bins and rakes are usually reserved for use by the packaged ice industry, operations involving large food service, or for poultry and seafood. Those businesses that need the ability to quickly package and ship ice to customers benefit most from a bin and rake that can produce tens to hundreds of tons of ice quickly. The bin itself is used for the storage of the ice until it needs to be packaged. The ice rake helps to distribute the ice evenly so the bin does not become uneven. In addition to assisting in the filling of a bin, this helps to distribute ice out for easier packaging. Many systems are designed to expose only a certain amount of ice at a time so that bins do not become overloaded or overflow once the doors are opened. Best of all, rakes automate the packaging process, which allows the ice to be packaged much quicker than if it were all completed by hand. This saves time and money, leading to a more affordable product for the end-user.

Benefits to Ice Rakes

There are many different kinds of ice machines, so what exactly are the advantages of using a machine with an ice rake? First of all, a rake automates the ice delivery process so that it can transported directly to wherever it needs to go. The continuous design means that it will work for as long as a business needs it to work, or until the bin becomes full.

A second benefit to these rakes—and probably the most important—has to do with sanitation. Each part is carefully designed to prevent the buildup of mold and other problems associated with ice storage. Because it also automates the packaging and transport of ice, there is no need for human hands to touch the ice until it is delivered to the point of use. This basically keeps the ice pure and clean until it needs to be used.

A third benefit to ice rakes is their durability and dependability. Most rakes are made out of high-quality parts, self-leveling abilities, and sensors. From galvanized components to heavy-duty chains, these rakes are designed to move ice for as long as you need to and not cause hang-ups. Many rakes will even automatically shut off once they sense that a bin is full.

Why Are They so Important?

What is so crucial about ice rakes? Do they even matter? If you take the rakes away, you slow the ice packaging and distribution process down considerably. There are many different businesses that depend on a daily import of ice in order to keep their goods fresh for their customers. Ice rake and bin systems are often responsible for the storage and preparation of up to 400 tons of ice. What happens when 400 tons of ice need to be distributed by human hands instead of an automated machine? The ice does not get packaged as quickly, which ends up taking more time and, ultimately, more money. This then translates to a higher price the end-user must pay for the product. If that end-user is a business, it also means that the business must now charge their customers extra for their products because their overhead costs are higher.

Ice rakes keep ice moving quickly for efficient packaging and delivery to customers or the point of use. This also helps to limit the number of hands that are coming in contact with the ice before it is used, which assists in keeping it sanitary.

Ultimately, ice rakes are an essential component of the bulk ice industry. It keeps the ice moving for easy packaging and delivery directly to the point of use, in many cases. When you are moving hundreds of tons of ice every day, it’s important to move it efficiently and in a manner that keeps the ice clean. After all, much of that ice is likely to come in contact with food that people will be eating. Ice rakes and bins basically save the ice industry time and money, which translates to savings to the end-user. Rakes are one of the most important pieces of bulk ice production that most people don’t often think about.