Standard Operation Guide :: Soft Serve :: Introduction
Spaceman offers a wide range of Soft-Serve Ice Cream models to suit the needs of a variety of customers and products. Spaceman’s Soft-Serve line is designed to produce high-volume continuous-dispensing soft-serve products such as: soft-serve ice cream, frozen yogurt, custards, sorbets, etc. Soft-Serve machines are not designed to produce hard-scoop ice cream, or products with large chunks or pieces of candy. Most Spaceman soft-serve models operate on digital controls, constantly monitoring the product in the freezing cylinder to keep the soft-serve in an ideal state for dispensing. Spaceman offers a wide range of floor standing and countertop models and several models have the option for an air-pump which can inject air into the product to make it lighter with a creamier texture. This article will outline all the parts of the Spaceman soft-serve machines and provide references to other great articles to learn more about how the machines operate.
Overview – Version 1 Soft Serve
Version 1 Soft Serve machines were produced into 2020 and are identified by an entirely flat front and faceplate. Most version 1 machines included a single-phase motor, and models with an air-pump utilized a clutch and belt to drive the air pump.
Overview – Version 2 Soft Serve
Beginning in 2019, Spaceman began transitioning to a new version 2 soft serve machine. These machines are identified by an overhead faceplate, and hidden draw switch components. The motor in these models has switched to a three-phase soft-start motor, and models with an air-pump are now driven via a direct-drive pump motor.
Overview – Control System
On the front of the machine there is one control board for each machine flavor. You can utilize this control board to adjust the mode of the machine, change settings, and view current machine information. Soft Serve machines determine the viscosity, or how frozen the product is, by reading the motor amperage during freezing. The machines do NOT use temperature to determine the viscosity. During operation, the user can view the temperature of the product, the current motor amperage (viscosity level), and other useful information
Soft Serve Parts Identification
Spaceman soft serve machines consist of the following major parts (pictures below):
- Hopper :: Where liquid product is stored and pre-chilled. Liquid product flows from the hopper into the freezing cylinder as product is dispensed.
- Hopper Agitator :: Select models are equipped with a hopper agitator. The hopper agitator is a magnetically-coupled blade that agitates the liquid product in the hopper when in cooling or wash mode. This helps prevent the product in the hopper from settling and freezing around the edges.
- Low Mix Sensor :: A float sensor to detect when the liquid mix in the hopper is low, illuminating a red low-mix indicator on the front of the machine
- Air-Tube :: The air tube injects air into the cylinder when a user dispenses product. It is important that this air tube is kept clean at all times to ensure consistent product.
- Air-Pump :: The air pump adds pressurization and pumps additional air into the cylinder along with the liquid product. Air pumps are used to get a higher overrun, or higher air-to-product ratio
- Freezing Cylinder :: Where product is frozen and stored frozen to be dispensed.
- Drive Shaft :: Located at the rear of the cylinder, this drive shaft connects to the motor via a gearbox. This part, and it’s gasket, are important to keep well lubricated to prevent issues.
- Beater :: Sometimes referred to as an auger, the beater is turned by the motor via the drive shaft. The beater agitates the product in the freezing cylinder during freezing.
- Scraper Blade :: The scraper blade(s) is attached to the beater. While the beater is turning, the scraper blades will flex outward and scrape frozen product off of the walls of the cylinder. In older versions, this part may include a metal clip.
- Dispensing Door :: The black dispensing door is what holds all of the freezing cylinder parts together and where product is dispensed.
- Beater Guide :: The beater guide is located on the inside of the dispensing door and keeps the beater centered during operation.
- Beater Rod :: The beater rod is held in a fixed position in the center of the beater. This rod helps break up the soft-serve product and prevent it from freezing up in the center.
- Draw Valve :: The draw valve is what the user opens and closes to dispense or stop dispensing product.
- Handle :: The handle controls the position of the draw valve and is used to dispense product
- Tune Up Kit :: The Tune Up kit consists of all of the wearable gaskets, o-rings, seals, and other plastic parts that will wear out during the operation of the machine. These parts should be replaced every three to six months depending on usage.
Spaceman Soft Serve machines have as many as 6 Operating modes depending on the model: Freeze, Standby, Wash, Off, Defrost, and Heat Treat. These modes can all be accessed by the Control Board, and are usually entered by first pressing Reset and then the desired mode button.
- Freeze Mode :: In freeze mode, the product in the cylinder will be frozen to the set viscosity level and the product in the hoppers will be kept at a food-safe temperature
- Standby Mode :: In standby mode, the product in both the cylinder and hopper will be kept at a food-safe temperature, but not frozen. This is sometimes referred to as night-mode as it is used when the store is not in operation.
- Wash Mode :: In wash mode, the motor (and air pump, if equipped) will operate, but none of the refrigeration system will be on. This mode is used when draining, cleaning, and sanitizing the machine.
- Defrost Mode :: Defrost mode was introduced in Version 2 machines and quickly thaws the product in the freezing cylinder for faster cleaning.
- Heat Treat Mode :: Certain models are equipped with a heat-treat mode that automatically pasteurizes the product inside the hopper and cylinders. This is only for special stabilized products, and is intended to increase the amount of time that can go between cleanings.
- Documentation and Manuals
- Training Materials
- Best Practices for Success
Soft Serve Articles