How is Sonic Ice Made in Commercial Ice Machines?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Ice Machines 101

Sonic Ice

Sonic ice is a popular choice for Chicago hospitals, elementary schools, coffee shops, and restaurants. Its soft, chewable texture has many uses in these industries – and they’re popular in drinks as well. Commercial ice makers have a unique way of producing this type of ice. Curious how Sonic ice is made?

In this article, we’ll show you how a typical Sonic ice maker creates this popular ice shape.

What is Sonic Ice?

Sonic ice comes in many names such as cubelet ice, pellet ice, or nugget ice. While most of those names describe the texture of the ice cube, sonic ice has nothing to do with sound. The cube is named after the popular drive-up food chain whose signature slushes have become a nationwide favorite.

Sonic ice was designed to be soft and chewable to help hydrate hospital patients who have a hard time swallowing. The texture of these cubes is soft, so patients won’t harm their teeth when they bite down on the cube. Eventually, these cubes became popular in schools and other industries. Over the years, Sonic ice has become a favorite style of ice, particularly in the southern United States.

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How is Sonic Ice Made?

Standard “cuber” ice machines create ice by running water over an ice-cold, metal plate, known as an evaporator plate. Eventually, the water freezes into a solid cube. Once a full batch of ice is created, the machine enters a harvest cycle, where the cubes are dropped into the storage container, such as an ice bin or dispenser.

Sonic ice makers use a different auger-style system to form the ice. This system consists of a large metal evaporator cylinder surrounding a large auger. As the ice machine fills the cylinder with water, the walls of the cylinder become ice-cold. Eventually, a thin sheet of ice forms on the walls of the cylinder, and the auger begins to turn. As the auger spins, it scrapes the ice off the walls and up through the cylinder.

At this stage, you’re left with flake ice, which is popular for food display and has a consistency like snow. Nugget ice makers take the process goes one step further. As the flake ice runs through the auger system, its compressed and released into the ice machine’s internal bin. What’s left is a soft, porous nugget of densely compacted flake ice we call Sonic ice.

Need a Nugget Ice Maker for Your Business?

At Automatic Icemakers, we have a wide range of commercial ice machines for Chicago businesses, (including nugget ice makers) for sale or in our all-inclusive commercial ice maker lease program. Whether you need a high-volume ice machine, like our Hoshizaki F-801MAJ-C ice machine, or a smaller ice dispenser, like our Hoshizaki DCM-300BAH, we have the right unit for your business.

Our leases include maintenance, cleaning, and repairs – for a low, monthly cost. Need help choosing an ice machine? Our Ice Machine Experts are here to help. Call us today!

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