By Molly Daly
MALVERN, Pa. (CBS) – With the high temperatures, demand for ice is heating up and one local ice maker, with locations in Malvern and Wilmington, has more on how it affects his business, and how the ice is made.
“Basically, every time it’s over 90, every ice company is going crazy,” says Mark Tillman, owner of Ice Butler.
He says his business supplies retail and commercial customers, whose demand has his ice making facility running full tilt; and it’s still not enough.
“I make like 40 tons a day. In my one location I could sell 80 tons a day. There’s a big window there, so I buy a lot of ice also,” says Tillman.
Most of what he sells and makes is cube ice in bags, but they’re not really cubes.
“A good portion of commercial ice is cylinder ice — a cylinder with a hole in the middle, like a tube of ice. Picture a large barrel with maybe a hundred tubes going down the middle of it. The water flows down those tubes and freezes the inside of the tubes, grows into ice as it’s cooled, and then drops out the bottom, and is cut into size,” he explains.
Tillman says the bagged ice goes to restaurants, drugstores stadiums, gas stations, airlines and construction sites, where it’s not just for keeping drinks cold.
“A lot of ice goes into concrete. It goes in road construction, like when they do bridge decks. It depends on how hot their material is. They have to keep the cement under a certain temperature, and they use ice instead of water, or a portion of ice instead of water, to keep the concrete cooler,” says Tillman.
If you’re thinking you’d need a coat and gloves to work in an ice factory, think again.
“Everyone thinks it’s a cool job. It is not a cool job. It is a hot and sweaty labor-intensive job and my guys work super-duper hard when the weather’s like this. This is not a job for everyone,” Tillman says.