What’s in Your Water…and Ice?

Ice machines are central to most of our lives, both at home and wherever we go for a drink, we will be enjoying ice in our beverages. Health departments in most cities visit every restaurant on a schedule, and the ice machine is usually the first place they look in a restaurant kitchen.

Ice machines operate continuously to manufacture large quantities of ice, and while the low temperatures will slow the development of bacteria and algae, it actually provides an ideal environment for many strains of bacteria, which must be controlled continuously to prevent contamination.

Ice machines operate continuously to manufacture large quantities of ice, and while the low temperatures will slow the development of bacteria and algae, it actually provides an ideal environment for many strains of bacteria, which must be controlled continuously to prevent contamination.

Controlling Bacteria in Ice Making Equipment

Ice makers require scheduled disinfection and wiping down to ensure that bacteria and mold are not allowed to grow in the ice production areas or the storage bins. There is a range of bacteria that survive in the cold environment, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, and even legionella outbreaks can occur in hospital ice machines.  

Biofilm usually forms in the ice trays, and is difficult to control. Biofilm encapsulates a number of bacteria species, and serves to protect bacteria very effectively, even from chemicals.

Biofilm is often called bio-slime, which regrows rapidly in moist environments.  Ice machines with a “cleaning cycle” often do not disinfect the equipment, and will not eliminate biofilm and associated bacteria.  Stopping ice production to thoroughly clean a machine requires careful scheduling to ensure that ice will be available for the next shift.  

Due to the expectation of clean tasting water that does not have chemical taste, the cleaning and maintenance process is a difficult and time consuming process that requires a schedule; using safe chemicals and tools that do not leave residue.

HydroFLOW for Bacteria Control in Ice Machines

HydroFLOW is a lightweight electronic device that uses high frequency sound (±150 kHz) that controls bacteria and algae in water systems. The sustained frequency causes biofilm to release from surfaces where they do not return.

HydroFLOW is a lightweight electronic device that uses high frequency sound (±150 kHz) that controls bacteria and algae in water systems. The sustained frequency causes biofilm to release from surfaces where they do not return. HydroFLOW uses water to carry the acoustic signal, which extends throughout a water system and deactivates bacteria and biofilm. The sustained signal provides continuous bacteria control, that saves labor, time and costs related to ice machine cleaning and maintenance.

Flakes of algae do not appear in beverages and the machines do not develop scale.

HydroFLOW also prevents scale formation by causing calcium ions to form crystals in water that are prevented from attaching on to water lines and equipment. 

Biofilm often attaches to scale in water systems, which is difficult to remove, so the HydroFLOW saves time, expense and labor while maintaining bacteria and scale control. Kitchens and homes that use water softeners no longer need them after installing a HydroFLOW. Scale does not form, and existing scale is removed over time.  

An Ice Machine Success Story that Continues to Grow

A popular restaurant chain in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area installed HydroFlow on an ice machine that exhibited pink and black slime despite frequent cleaning.

The machine was cleaned and a HydroFLOW S38 model was installed. The ice machine has two ice making panels with a shared water tray. After 30 days, the ice machine was inspected and no algae or discoloration from bacteria was present in the machine. The HydroFlow prevented new contamination while removing existing bacteria. The restaurant installed HydroFLOWs in all of their restaurants with no biofouling after 6 months of use.

When labor and maintenance was calculated for manually cleaning an ice machine monthly, the cost of a HydroFLOW was recovered within 4 months.

HydroFLOW received the 2015 Innovator of the Year award by the National Restaurant Association for applications in ice machines, steam tables, dishwashers and steamers. With a HydroFLOW the expense and labor associated with having a water softener is eliminated.

HydroFlow is patented, effective and operates on less than $10 of electricity per year. It has no moving parts and operates 24/7 to control bacteria and scale. HydroFLOWs are easy to install in minutes, require no cutting of pipes or interruption of production. HydroFLOW reduces water use, chemicals and energy.                                                   

 

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