An ice maker, also known as ice machine or ice generator, is a device that produces ice. Condenser, evaporator, throttle valve, and compressor are the basic components of an ice maker. The function of the compressor is to cold compress low-pressure vapor to high-pressure refrigerant vapor, and transport it to the condenser. The high-pressure vapor is then condensed in the condenser, into high-pressure liquid. After condensation, the high-pressure liquid is drained out through the throttle valve in the form of low-pressure liquid. The liquid is then directed toward the evaporator. Heat exchanging occurs at the evaporator, thereby creating ice.
Sedentary lifestyle and high disposable income have resulted in the development of fast food chains. These factors coupled the increased need to store perishable items, primarily food and food ingredients, are driving the ice maker market. Rise in life expectancy has been propelling the health care industry. Large amount of ice is needed for the cold compression therapy. Need for organ and tissue transplantation is also responsible for the growth of the global ice maker market.
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High initial investment is a challenge facing the global ice maker market. Setting up an appropriate ice maker for a specific business requires expertise as well as significant investment. However, there is an increased intake of beverages, which require ice. Therefore, the overall ice maker market has been expanding across the globe. Additionally, the growth of fast food chains worldwide along with expansion of the health care industry is likely to offer ample opportunities to the ice maker market.
The ice maker market can be segmented based on type, end-user, and geography. Ice flake maker, ice cube maker, and ice nuggets maker are the types of ice makers available in the market. The ice cube maker segment held dominant share of the global ice maker market, as ice cubes are extensively used in the food and service industry. In terms of end-user, the ice maker market can be segmented into health care, food and services, residential, and retail outlets/grocery stores. The food and services segment accounted for the major share of the market in 2015. This trend is expected to continue during the forecast period.
The number of eateries, bistros, and restaurants along with cafés and bars is increasing significantly. These require ice in various forms such as cubes or flakes for their daily operations, which include storage of food and food ingredients and serving outdoor food. These establishments prefer an in-house ice manufacturing facility. This is fuelling the growth of the overall ice maker market.
In terms of geography, the ice maker market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Currently, North America accounts for the dominant share of the global ice maker market. The ice maker market in the region has been expanding significantly, led by the presence of large number of restaurants, increase in outdoor eating habits of people, and existence of renowned retail chains and supermarkets. The ice maker market in Asia Pacific is likely to expand substantially during the forecast period, led by the rapid expansion of the food service industry.
Hoshizaki, Manitowoc, Scotsman, Whynter, and Ice-O-Matic are the major players operating in the global ice maker market. Other key players in the market include Himalyan Equipment Manufacturing Co. (HEMCO), MaxxIce, Newair, Zhejiang Litian Industrial Co. Ltd., SPT, Changshu Lingke Electric Appliance Co. Ltd., and Cornelius.