How do the Ice Machine Evaporators Work

In this article, you’ll learn how ice machine evaporators work, their types, maintenance, and more.

  • Understanding Ice Machine Evaporators
  • 3 Types of Ice Machine Evaporators
  • How do Different Ice Machine Evaporators Work
  • Efficiency and Maintenance of Evaporators

Understanding Ice Machine Evaporators

The ice Machine Evaporator is one of the 3 major components of ice making machines. The other two are the compressor, and the condenser.

  • Ice Machine Evaporator

This component is where the actual freezing of water takes place. It’s typically a coil or plate that cools down rapidly, causing water to freeze into ice.

  • Compressor

The compressor is responsible for pressurizing and circulating the refrigerant throughout the ice maker. It compresses the refrigerant gas, raising its temperature and pressure before passing it to the condenser.

  • Condenser

Once the refrigerant is pressurized, it moves to the condenser where it releases heat and transforms back into a liquid state. This process allows the refrigerant to cool down, preparing it to return to the evaporator to continue the cycle.

Ice Machine Evaporators: A Crucial Component

In the realm of ice-making, the evaporator is a vital part of the process. It serves as the primary site where water turns into ice, operating on the principle of rapid cooling to induce freezing.

The Function of an Evaporator

The key function of an evaporator in an ice machine is to absorb heat from the water, causing it to freeze. Typically, the evaporator is designed as a vertical or a horizontal, slant plate and works by rapidly cooling down to extremely low temperatures.

The ice machine evaporator plays an important role in the ice-making process, so its efficiency is also crucial. But the working principle of the ice machine evaporator is also related to the type. Next, let us first understand the 3 types of ice machine evaporators.

3 Types of Ice Machine Evaporators


  • Vertical Ice Machine Evaporators

Vertical ice machine evaporators are typically employed in larger commercial ice-making machines. These are commonly found in ice-making systems used in restaurants, hotels, large-scale beverage industries, and industrial settings where a significant ice production capacity is required. The upright orientation of the evaporator allows for efficient ice production in larger quantities, meeting the demands of high-volume ice needs.

Grant Ice Systems specializes in manufacturing various ice-making machines, including flake ice machines, cube ice machines, ice machine evaporators, and other ice production equipment. You’ll find that our ice machine evaporators are vertical, ensuring high efficiency in ice production, with a capacity ranging from 70 kilograms to over 100 tons produced within 24 hours. These systems cater to diverse commercial and industrial ice production needs.

  • Horizontal Ice Machine Evaporators

Horizontal ice machine evaporators are commonly used in under-counter ice machines or in ice makers designed for limited space settings. For instance, some compact or built-in ice machines that fit beneath countertops or in constrained spaces often utilize horizontal evaporators due to their layout and spatial requirements.

  • Slant Plate Ice Machine Evaporators

Slant plate ice machine evaporators are utilized in specific types of ice-making machines where the design benefits from an inclined or slanted surface for ice production. These might be found in certain specialty ice machines used in bars, cocktail lounges, or even in some compact commercial ice makers where the slanted design aids in efficient ice formation, catering to the specific needs of these establishments.

How do Different Ice Machine Evaporators Work


The core principle of ice formation remains consistent among vertical, horizontal, and slant plate ice machine evaporators: heat exchange causes water to freeze. However, the key differences lie in their orientations and surface designs.

  • Vertical Ice Machine Evaporators: The refrigerant liquid enters the liquid pipeline through the dryer, and then flows into the evaporator inside the ice-making cylinder through the expansion valve. Within the evaporator, the refrigerant evaporates and undergoes a heat exchange process with the flowing water along the inner surface of the ice-making cylinder.
  • Horizontal Ice Machine Evaporators: In these evaporators, the water spreads across a level, horizontal surface. For example, under-counter ice machines use horizontal evaporators where water freezes across a flat, horizontal plane due to spatial constraints.
  • Slant Plate Ice Machine Evaporators: These have an inclined surface. In certain bar or cocktail ice makers, water freezes on a slanted surface, promoting efficient ice formation due to the slant, which aids in the freezing process, especially in specialty ice machines.

Efficiency and Maintenance of Evaporators

  • Factors That Impact Efficiency

  1. Water Quality: The quality of water used affects efficiency. Hard water with high mineral content can cause scaling and buildup on the evaporator’s surface, reducing heat transfer. Regular water filtration and maintenance can mitigate this.
  2. Airflow: Proper airflow is essential for efficient cooling and heat transfer. Blocked airflow decreases efficiency and slows ice production. Regular cleaning of air vents and fans is vital.
  3. Refrigerant Levels: The right refrigerant levels are critical for proper cooling. Insufficient levels reduce cooling capacity. Regular monitoring ensures efficiency.
  4. Temperature Control: Proper temperature settings are crucial for efficient ice production. Incorrect temperatures lead to inconsistent ice and reduced efficiency. Regular calibration and monitoring are necessary.
  • Maintenance Tips

  1. Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean the evaporator to remove mineral buildup. Use mild solutions and a soft brush. Avoid harsh chemicals for gentle scrubbing.
  2. Inspect and Clean Air Vents: Inspect, and clean air vents with a soft cloth or vacuum for unobstructed airflow.
  3. Check and Maintain Refrigerant Levels: Check, and top up refrigerant levels as low levels reduce cooling capacity.
  4. Regular Temperature Calibration: Typically, the ice machine evaporator temperature is calibrated every 6-12 months for accuracy and efficient ice production.


In conclusion, ice machine evaporators are fundamental components that contribute to the ice-making process. Their efficiency, maintenance, and evolving technology play significant roles in various industries and homes.


Q1: How often should ice machine evaporators be cleaned?
A1: Ice machine evaporators should typically be cleaned at intervals of approximately every three to six months for optimal performance and maintenance.

Q2: What are some signs of a malfunctioning ice machine evaporator?
A2: Reduced ice production, unusual noises, or inconsistent ice quality could signal issues with the evaporator.

Q3: Can I perform maintenance on an ice machine evaporator myself?
A3: Simple maintenance tasks like cleaning can often be done, but more complex issues like refrigerant recharging might require professional assistance.
If you have any questions about maintenance, you can contact us, our professional technical staff can provide you with professional advice.
If you purchase our ice machine evaporator, we will provide a product manual to help you use it better.

Q4: How long does an ice machine evaporator last?
A4: The lifespan of an ice machine evaporator typically ranges between 10 to 15 years, contingent upon factors like maintenance, usage intensity, and environmental conditions.



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