Kitchen Biz Search

Scotsman’s Ultrasonic Sixth Sense

By Lee Davis

When I worked as a restaurant manager, few things made me happier than a full bin of ice at the beginning of my shift on a Friday or Saturday night in the summer. With plenty of tourists, and high temperatures, we needed that ice machine to continuously top off the bin 24/7. In the off-season, our demand was a fraction of that amount, and yet the machine would just continue to fill the bin. It seemed an awful waste of water and energy. Once January arrived, I knew I wouldn’t see the bottom of that ice bin again until May.

Recently, I sat in on a training session with Jeff Biel, Product Manager for Scotsman Ice Systems. Scotsman has designed, Ultrasonic Sensors, the ultimate solution for ice level management. They’re available on all Prodigy Modular Ice Machines and are exclusive to Scotsman. Ultrasonic Sensors are used to monitor the level of ice in the bin. Programmable settings allow the operator to manage the level of ice production day in and day out, all week long based on need.

A restaurant that closes on Sunday and Monday, for example, can program their Scotsman icemaker to maintain no more than minimum levels of ice early in the week. Then, it can be programmed to bump up the ice level on Tuesday morning in time for the lunch rush. Perhaps it bumps up again on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the big Wednesday evening Karaoke and oyster bar extravaganza. Thursdays being slow, the ice level can be set to drop back down until Friday afternoon, when it ramps back up in time for the Friday fish delivery and the weekend rush.

With 15 programmable presets, operators can program their icemakers to use no more water and electricity than is needed to match demand. As seasonal demand changes, so too can the program. According to Jeff Biel, “This feature works particularly well with Scotsman Nugget Ice makers on either bins or drink dispensers.” It helps prevent large quantities of unneeded ice from sitting around for long periods of time and forming into large ice balls.

In the unlikely event that the Ultrasonic Sensors ever fail, the machine automatically defaults to “full capacity” until repairs can be made. That way, no restaurant manager is likely to be disappointed by finding an ice bin less than full at the beginning of a shift on a Friday or Saturday night in the summer.

For more information and spec sheets for Scotsman Prodigy icemakers, visit the Scotsman Ice Systems website at