Commercial Ice Cream Machine

One of the keys to keeping a commercial ice cream machine running efficiently is careful maintenance.

Keep the condenser coil clean.

If the coil has a build-up of oily, greasy dirt, you'll have to use a de-greasing detergent, and then wash the coil off.

When you wash the coils of your commercial ice cream machine, be sure to cover the condenser fan motor and any other electrical components that might get sprayed.

If the coil has a build-up of dry dust and lint, the best way to clean it is to wash it thoroughly with water.

If washing with water isn't possible, nitrogen or CO2 are alternatives that will blow a coil clean.

Make sure there's good air flow through the coil, and make sure no other appliances are venting any kind of heat into it.

Open the side and back panels of your commercial ice cream machine and inspect the inside for debris.

Check the drive belts and make sure they're in good condition and adjusted to the correct tension, and make sure the drive pulleys are aligned correctly.

If you want to provide your customers with the highest quality ice cream possible, and maximize the profit potential of your commercial ice cream machine, it's in your own best interest to read the owner's manual and the operation manual carefully, and follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding disassembly, inspection, cleaning, lubrication, and sanitation.

You might want to keep spare tune up parts like o rings, seals, gaskets, food-safe lubricant, sleeves, bushings, and beater blades.

If you're a technician troubleshooting a commercial ice cream machine that isn't freezing efficiently, get the service manual for the machine if you can.

It will save you a lot of time and frustration, especially if you're working on a modern machine with solid state controls.

If the controls are working ok and calling for the unit to run, but the unit simply isn't efficient, you can troubleshoot a commercial ice cream machine like any other low temperature system.

Our System Evaluation Manual has a cycle diagram and guidelines for evaluating pressures and temperatures for air conditioning and refrigeration systems; and you might find some information in it that will save you some time.

If the machine is disassembled, I'd run it that way in 'freeze' mode for a few seconds to see if a frost line shows up in the freeze chambers.

Attatch your gauges first and verify that there's refrigerant in the unit.

If the pressure looks normal, run the unit for a few seconds.

If there's no pressure, or unusually low pressure, look for a leak and repair it.


Once the compressor starts in 'freeze' mode, a frost line should start at the front or back of the freeze chamber within a few seconds, and steadily cover the entire freeze chamber.

If no frost line appears, or if it doesn't spread and cover the freeze chamber, check the refrigerant charge, check the compressor, check the metering device and liquid line solenoid.

Don't forget to verify that the unit has the correct refrigerant in it, and that the metering device is designed for the refrigerant being used.

If you're troubleshooting a commercial ice cream machine that's already assembled, with mix already in it, the first thing to do is verify that the condenser coil is clean.

Then talk to the operator and verify that the parts in good condition.

Verify that the parts were cleaned, lubricated, and assembled correctly.

Verify that the mix is fresh, that it was mixed correctly, and that there's product in the freeze chambers at the correct level.

Run the unit and check pressures, temperatures, superheat, subcooling, and time the freeze cycle.

Does the compressor stop before the product is frozen?

Find out if it's stopping on a temperature control, viscosity control, or on a safety cut out.

Once you find out which control stopped the compressor, it shouldn't be difficult to determine how to correct the problem.

Does the compressor keep running, but the product never freezes?

If you have a low suction pressure and a low discharge pressure, the unit might be undercharged.

Check for a leak, recover the refrigerant, repair the leak if you found one, then weigh in the amount of refrigerant specified by the manufacturer.

If you have extremely high suction pressure and abnormally low discharge pressure, you probably have a failed compressor.

Replace it if it's failed.

Poor efficiency in a commercial ice cream machine can also be caused by:
condenser fan is the wrong size or rotation,
heat is being vented into the condenser coil from another appliance,
drive belts are worn or loose,
beater blades are worn out or the wrong size,
product was mixed incorrectly,
product has been in the machine too long,
wrong product is being used,
filter drier is restricted,
metering device has failed,
liquid line solenoid is not opening 100%.

Check the pressures, temperatures, superheat, and subcooling, and compare them to the manufacturers specifications for the operating characteristics of the machine.

If the units pressures and temperatures are significantly different from the manufacturers specifications, the nature of the difference will usually point the way toward the cause of the problem.

I hope this page has helped, and please, feel free to contact us with any specific HVAC questions you might have, including questions about refrigeration on Guam, and air conditioning on Guam.

Are you learning the HVAC Trade "on the job"?
If you would be interested in developing your potential to become the finest HVAC Technician you possibly can by studying a complete, accredited HVAC Technician course at home; we highly recommend that you contact Penn Foster Career School and request their free, no-obligation information brochure.
Requesting the information is easy and only takes 2 minutes; and it might be the first step towards changing your whole future.
You'll find a brief review of the course on our HVAC Training page.

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