starting an ice business

Which machine

When you decide to start an ice business the ideal machine to use would be a 320 kg per 24 hours machine and a 320 kg bin. These machines are single phase 220 volt machines so a normal household 3 pin plug can run the machine with no problem. Using a smaller machine would be a 240 kg per 24 hours which is about R5000.00 rand cheaper, for that saving you are loosing about one third of the ice capacity, when you consider ice bags are packed in 4 kg packs and 240 kgs will amount to 60 bags of ice, a normal size 210 litre house hold freezer hold 20 bags of 4 kg ice, this means a 240 kg machine will fill 3 freezers full of ice per 24 hours, you will be able to refill 4 or 5 places you supply ice to every 24 hrs, this is not much and in a few weeks you will be looking to buy another machine and kicking yourself for not spending the extra and getting a machine with a 100 kgs more, looking ahead two 320 kg machines is not much more expensive than one 700 kg machine so when purchasing a second machine you will not be wasting, also the problem with one machine is when it stops you have no ice, two smaller machines will at least leave you with half capacity still being supplied.

What ice shape

The types of ice are square (cube or dice) and round (gourmet) that are available in south Africa, the gourmet cube is a bigger and much more preferred cube, however the machine is about twice the price of a dice cube machine, so to start i would suggest a dice cube machine, later when your client base has grown  you can get a gourmet cube machine and selective clients can be supplied with gourmet cubes, if you start with a gourmet cube machine you will end up supplying people gourmet ice at a huge cost to fill their cooler boxes which is a waste

How to seal bags

Heat sealers are always the way everyone wants to start with, i suggest get a packet of small cable ties from the hardware shop and use them, they are cheap and will never open once closed, heat sealer have heater strip that need replacing, the melt the bag together and i found when bags are dropped in a freezer the melt line tends to open and the ice falls out, this ice the freezers and the freezer end up solid with broken bags

How to store ice

To store ice start with a 500 litre chest freezer, this freezer will hold 50 four kgs bags of ice, if need be another freezer can ater be purchased, if ever you install a freezer room then the freezers can be used in clients shops to hold ice.

How to transport ice

Transporting ice is done in a van that is insulated, it can be transported in an insulated box like an old chest freezer, the box does not need to be refrigerated unless the ice will be in the box for a period longer than 3 or 4 hours


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