About Hiring Chillers for Temporary Outdoor Ice Rinks

Published: 23rd January 2012
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In the run up to Christmas, and over the festive season, demand for temporary outdoor ice rinks is always at its highest in Britain’s towns and cities. Powerful cooling machines called chillers are hired from chiller hire specialists to help meet this demand.

Rented chillers can provide vast volumes of cold water to keep an ice rink running. At outdoor ice rinks, chillers are used to ensure that ice is maintained at required temperatures/thicknesses. Hired chiller units designed specially for use at ice rinks can vary in size and capacity.

The show must go on…

With ticket prices being high yet always much in-demand (especially since the broadcasting of popular television shows, such as Dancing on Ice), only a chiller hire specialist with a proven track-record of supplying the right chillers for each particular tour venue will be used.

The nightmare of having to cancel or temporarily close ice rinks due to a lack of thick and strong enough ice is something major production companies and promoters, etc. are anxious to avoid. They take no chances, and turn to chiller hire experts for the duration – chiller rental companies with vast experience in outdoor ice rink applications.

The rise in popularity of outdoor ice rinks (for public use)

Portable leased chiller units are used in the construction of temporary ice rinks at this time of year at shopping and exhibition centres, at town centre precincts, parks and even at large farms (that frequently hold farmer’s markets etc) on town and city outskirts.

It is essential that ice rinks are safe environments. A company, organisation or council that commissions the hiring of a temporary outdoor ice rink has a responsibility to ensure the rinks are constructed and maintained to required standards. A specialist chiller hire company plays a vital role in all this, with always keeping ice at the right temperature being paramount, and with unseasonably warm weather being the greatest threat…

In November this year, a temporary outdoor ice rink in the south of England had to be closed to skaters on its second full day of opening because the ice was simply melting. A combination of warmer weather and high winds meant the ice could not freeze sufficiently, and, in the interests of user safety, the rink was forced to briefly shut.

Also in late November, until unseasonably warm temperatures dropped from 14 degrees Celsius, ice skaters had to be turned away from outdoor skating rinks at various venues across the UK, due to the ice there turning to slush. Again, the meltdown was worsened by strong winds.

Required temperatures at outdoor ice rinks

Outdoor rinks (used by the general public) need to maintain an ice temperature of around -12 to -14 degrees Celsius. For pantomimes and other theatrical productions staged on outdoor ice stages, performers often prefer a slightly warmer ice temperature as do ice hockey players.

Types of chillers used

For outdoor ice rinks, portable low-temperature chiller units are used. As well as being easy to install and maintain, these units provide reliable and energy-efficient ice cooling. Alongside the rented chiller units themselves, a specialist chiller hire company will also provide temporary hoses, pumps and buffer tanks, in accordance with the client’s specification (note: chosen chiller sizes can vary depending upon rink size, but the ancillary equipment used is invariably the same).

How chiller hire specialists play their part in encouraging healthy living

Finally, in recent years, as well as the pure enjoyment factor, temporary outdoor ice rinks have become a means to attract additional visitors in to a particular area or location: given the recent strain on the economy and individuals’ purse strings, any way to boost footfall is vital and can provide a considerable boost to the local economy and surrounding restaurants and shops.

An experienced chiller hire company will have the equipment, personnel and expertise required to ensure a temporary ice rink is usable by the public over Christmas and the New Year, regardless of fluctuations in temperature levels at this time of year, and the sudden onset of strong winds!

Article submitted by Carl Webb, Sales Director at Andrews Sykes. With over 25 years’ experience, Andrews Sykes provides chiller rental services for temporary ice rinks using machinery sourced from the world’s top manufacturers.

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