Building Great Ice with REALice

Building Great Ice with REALice

With July winding down, many arenas have a date circled in their calendar to begin the artificial ice-making process for the start of the hockey and figure skating season. For some of our customers, it means their first time ever building ice using the REALice System. Since many of our potential customers don’t understand what the ice making process could be like not using hot water, here’s a round-up of our newest customers’ experiences so far.

Using Unheated Water to Make Ice

  • Rutland Twin Arena in Kelowna, BC is now using unheated water for resurfacing. During the summertime, that means their resurfacing water is now a tepid 66°F. Since installing the REALice System, they’ve been able to reset their brine temperature by 4°F-5°F.
  • The Oak Bay Recreation Centre on Vancouver Island is using unheated water to maintain its ice. Their ice makers have been able to reset their brine between 3°F-4°F right away since starting to build up the ice.
  • Twin Rinks in Chilliwack, BC, and Brock Arena in Kamloops, BC are now putting in their ice, using unheated water to maintain their ice. They expect their brine level adjustment will also end up between 3°F-4°F once they have finalized their installation.
  • Brennan Park Recreation Centrin Squamish, BC has finalized their installation and will start making ice at the end of July
  • Last but not least, Norval Arena in Armstrong, BC will start making ice during the second week of August.

What Does the Increase in Brine Temperature Mean?

deltaIncreasing your brine temperature means energy savings. The table on the left shows how increasing the brine temperature by 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5°F results in a percentage of savings that ranges from 2.1% to 11.25%.

Resetting the brine temperature is normally the first-way electrical savings are achieved by facilities who implement REALice (unless electricity is also being used to heat up the water for the ice resurfacer). The secondary way electricity is saved is because of reduced chiller loads because the REALice-treated water being frozen is tepid instead of an extremely hot 140°F-160°F. This means that combined savings on the electrical side can amount to 15% or more of the overall electric consumption. For a twin pad consuming 1,000,000 kWh per year, that 15% amounts to 150,000 kWh.

The electrical savings achieved by using REALice are on top of the savings gained from not having to heat up the resurfacing water – which is usually heated using natural gas. FortisBC verified the reduction in natural gas usage for arenas using REALice at 79%!

Dry Shaving to Remove Impurities

Our customers tell us over and over again how impressed they are with the final result — especially with the clarity of the ice. Using REALice-treated water, the impurities within the water are moved to the surface of the ice, and easily removed with dry shaving. We recommend dry shaving the ice once or twice after the ice-making is complete and the correct ice thickness has been reached. The residual impurities will then be removed, resulting in a beautiful sheet of ice your user groups will love.

Here is a shortlist of best practices for making and maintaining your ice with REALice.

  • Always ensure the blade on your resurfacer is good and sharp
  • If the outside temperature drops significantly, add a little bit of tempered Water (max 68°F) to the resurfacing water
  • Shave ice with each flood in addition to collecting snow
  • Use tempered water for the wash water
  • Take the time to do the ice and drive the ice resurfacer slowly: NHL size: 8-10min, Olympic size: 10-12min
  • Use the REALice hand-held device to build ice, perform maintenance and repairs
  • Water treated with REALice and normal water cannot be mixed. Do Not Bypass the System.

For more information, contact:

Florian Gabriel, Managing Director
SWICH Services Inc.
Canadian Technology Transfer Partner
Phone: +1-604-710-5479