Troubleshooting :: Soft Serve :: Machine Performance
During periods of peak production, high ambient temperatures, or busy seasons, it may sometimes seem like your soft serve machine is not keeping up. Often, this is a result of many different things impacting the machine’s ability to perform at it’s peak rather than an issue with the machine itself. The below guide walks through the appropriate steps to take to verify the machine functionality, confirm or identify environmental impacts, and verify the machine is producing the correct amount of product per its specification.
First, it is important to have all the information about your machine and it’s capabilities. Spaceman hosts all specification sheets on our website: Spaceman USA Machine Documentation Every machine specification sheet has a capacity rating, and we have broken that down into a helpful table for all machines: Size Guide - Soft Serve Machine
Next, to verify machine performance, it is important to start with a clean machine in an optimal environment. Follow the Operator Manual for your machine to fully drain, rinse, disassemble, and clean all of the parts on your machine. Don’t forget the drive shaft!
Important: Verify all of the tips and recommendations in the Soft Serve Best Practices article are being followed, especially for machine clearance and replacing the tune up kit and scraper blades. These parts are very important to machine performance.
It is also important to verify that items like your condensing coil are clean and free of debris, and that the machine has adequate clearance on all sides, especially during warmer summer months. A dusty condenser and inadequate ventilation will reduce the capacity of the machine exponentially, if you have not done so, you should schedule a routine maintenance with your local HVAC technician to clean the condensing coil on your machine..
Take pictures of the machine clearance, the cleanliness of the inside of the machine, and note the last time the wearable parts were replaced when contacting Technical Service.
Before reassembling, perform a Soft Serve: Functionality Check to verify that all of the machine components and parts are functioning as required. During this procedure, you will perform a Soft Serve: Troubleshooting Frost Check to verify the refrigeration system is working correctly. Take pictures and/or video (preferred) at each step, pictures and videos are very helpful for diagnosing potential problems.
With the machine functionality verified, it’s time to test the machine performance. To do this, please first refer to the size guide and locate the maximum serving capacity for your model.
For example, a SM-6235 will produce 3x 4oz servings per minute per freezing cylinder. In this example, one 4oz serving can be served every 20 seconds (3 times per minute) from each side of the machine.
Note: This size guide and rating is performed at 80 degrees ambient temperature. If your ambient temperature is above 90 degrees, the output capacity of your machine will reduce exponentially as the temperature increases.
Locate a cup that is the size of the desired serving. If you have a measuring cup, this would be ideal. Getting the volume correct is important to measuring the machine capacity. For reference, a small Dixie cup is 3-5 oz.
Use a stopwatch and dispense one serving at every interval determined in step 4. Take pictures of the product you are dispensing, and video of the test if possible. If your machine has multiple flavors, perform this test one side at a time. The product should remain relatively consistent throughout this test.
- If your machine passed the functionality check, frost check, and dispensing performance check, then the machine is operating correctly. If you are having issues with freeze ups, product inconsistency, or other issues, please refer to the SS: Best Practices article, to ensure all steps are being followed correctly. Most importantly, ensure you are not drawing too much product too fast, serving too large of servings for the machine capacity, and that you reduce the ambient temperature around the machine as much as possible to achieve peak performance.
If your machine failed any step of the functionality check, frost check, or dispensing performance check, please contact Technical Support for further guidance.
Note: You will be required to send in pictures and information gathered from the tests to receive help troubleshooting. Spaceman Technical Support can provide you with a link to upload this information if required.
- Minimum required information and pictures to help further troubleshoot:
- Last time machine was cleaned and wearable parts (Tune Up Kit and Scraper Blades) replaced
- Last time machine was cleaned internally by a service technician (cleaned condensers, etc.)
- Photos showing machine having adequate clearance on all sides
- Product type being served and photos of the serving sizes and number of servings being made
- Photos and videos of the tests performed showing the issues.