How is Sonic Ice Made in Commercial Ice Machines?

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Sonic Ice

Sonic ice is a popular choice for hospitals, elementary schools, coffee shops, and restaurants. It has a soft, chewable texture that is appealing and functional in many settings. There are many commercial ice makers on the market that produce this type of ice. Curious how Sonic ice is made?

In this article, we’ll show you how a typical Sonic ice maker makes soft, chewable Sonic ice for your customers or employees.

What is Sonic Ice?

Sonic ice comes in many names such as cubelet ice, pellet ice, nugget ice, or even Chick-fil-A ice. The “Sonic” in the name refers to the popular drive-up food chain whose signature slushes have become a fan favorite. Nugget-style ice is the go-to choice for these drinks, hence the name.

Whatever you call it, Sonic ice is a soft, chewable style of cube originally designed for hospital patients. Doctors wanted an ice cube that could hydrate patients who have trouble swallowing but wouldn’t harm their teeth if they bit down on the cube. As this ice became more popular, schools and other industries began to use it as well.

Now, Sonic ice has become a favorite style of ice, particularly in the southern United States.

Many consumers refer to Sonic ice as "crushed ice." Read about the top 5 crushed ice machines here:

How is Sonic Ice Made?

Most industrial ice makers run water over an ice cold, metal plate (known as an evaporator plate) until the water freezes into a solid cube. From there, the ice machine enters a harvest cycle, where the cubes drop off the plate and into a storage container. These types of ice machines are known as “cubers” within the industry.

These cubes tend to be rock hard and crystal clear. While traditional ice cubes are nice to look at, chewing on them is not advised.

Sonic ice makers use an auger system, rather than an evaporator plate, to form the ice. This system consists of a large metal cylinder with an auger inside (imagine a large drill head). As the machine runs, the walls of the cylinder become ice-cold. Water pours into the cylinder and begins to freeze along the walls of the cylinder. When a thin sheet of ice begins to form on the walls of the cylinder, the auger begins to turn, scraping the ice off the walls and up through the cylinder.

If we were to stop the process here, we would be left with flake ice, which is popular for food display and has a consistency like snow. Commercial nugget ice machines go one step further to create nuggets.

As the ice extrudes through the auger system, it is packed together and deposited into the commercial ice bin. What’s left is a soft, porous nugget of densely compacted flake ice we call Sonic ice.

Looking for a Sonic Ice Maker?

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Need a Sonic Ice Maker for Your Business?

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