In the winter of 2005, The Union Ice Company began construction of its central manufacturing and distribution facility in the city of Vernon, California. The design of the plant utilizes every modern day technology known to the ice industry. When it was completed, the refrigeration engineers of Union Ice incorporated some of their own wisdom into the design. These energy modifications would later be designed into future ice plants.
Our Vernon facility is a 600 ton (1,200,000 lb) per day manufacturing plant. This capacity is reached with eight 75 ton per day icemakers. Two other very important elements were designed into the plant that would ultimately produce the highest quality ice product available. The water purification and the drying belt.
Our water filtration system takes regular city water and transforms it into “bottled water quality” purified water. The water is initially filtered through carbon filters and is then processed through the water softeners. The water then traverses through pre-filters before its next and most important destination – the Reverse Osmosis System. Basically, the osmotic process uses membranes that act like extremely fine filters to create purified water.
This water is then pumped into a storage tank. As the water is called for by the icemakers, it exits the tank and passes through an ultraviolet light chamber which destroys any residual bacteria that may be in the water. The results are clean purified water which makes perfect crystal clear ice.
Probably the single most important piece of equipment in obtaining a high quality ice product is the drying belt. When ice is harvested, it is still wet on the outer surfaces. If the ice was conveyed directly into a packaging line and freezer, the wet individual ice cubes would freeze to themselves creating unmanageable, solid pieces of ice. Removing all of the moisture from the ice after it’s made but before it is packaged and stored eliminates this problem. The ice is conveyed along 80 feet of “Drying Belt” located in a separate freezer room and kept at five degrees Fahrenheit. The ice is exposed not only to the cold temperature but also extremely windy conditions causing a wind-chill factor which additionally assists in the drying process. By the time the ice leaves the ice room, all moisture has been completely removed.
The ice is now in the perfect condition to be packaged and delivered.
For more information, bookings or questions please contact us.
The Union Ice block plant located in Van Nuys California is one of the few remaining block plants in the state. Built back in the early 1920’s, it’s a modern day look into the past of the ice industry’s transition from the dependence on nature to the advent of refrigeration technologies.
Most block plants have closed over the years simply because of a lack in demand for block ice as more people were able to purchase a handy appliance called a refrigerator. Most of the plants that remained over the last few decades also closed as they became to antiquated to operate efficiently with little justification to rebuild and modernize them.
The Union Ice Van Nuys plant, however, continues to service existing block ice needs of various industries. But it has also served the business well into it’s twilight years. So, loyal to it’s history, Union Ice completely refurbished and modernized it’s last remaining block ice plant in hope of continuing to provide quality service for another century.