Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

The Quarterly Product Q4 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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staff skill level," says Arons. "Generally, manual models have buttons and dials whereas modern programmable ovens have tablet-style touchscreen panels. Chefs may prefer the hands-on manual control. However, program- mable versions make it much easier for chefs to program menu items for inexperienced staff and produce good consistent results." Combi ovens create steam and typically require an exhaust hood by code. Check local codes to confirm requirements prior to purchasing. "Some areas allow com- mon exhaust ducting, others may require fire rated grease ducting, which is more involved and costlier," says Arons. "Some manufacturers have newer electric-only ventless technology that allows the combi oven to be installed with- out an exhaust system and still meet code requirements." Traditional combi ovens create steam by a built-in water boiler system, but newer boilerless units have fewer parts and tend to require less maintenance and service over time. "There are some operational differences between the two, so it is recommended that you do their research prior to purchase to decide which type is best suited for the operation," says Arons. One important combi oven accessory that is frequently omitted or specified incorrectly is the water filter. "You must have a water filter installed for the incoming water supply; failure to do so will greatly shorten the lifespan of the oven and cause many unnecessary service calls," says Arons. "A one spec system for all is not the best approach. Testing your operation's water quality is the first step to determine the correct filter system. Most municipalities provide regional water reports for free. This is better than nothing; however, it will not be as accurate as measuring the quality at your specific location. Most manufacturers will void the warranty if your water qual- ity does not meet the minimum quality requirements." Many units feature program- mable cooking cycles, settings for quick defrost, rethermalizing, poaching, gentle steaming, warm- ing and smoking, among many others available. Some also offer a self-cleaning option. "Many include a side mounted hose and sprayer for easier clean- ing," says Arons. "It's impor- tant to review the options and decide what is necessary for you and consider the cost. One thing to note on cleaning, make sure the chemicals are recommended by the manufacturer. Failure to do so can cause issues with the oven operation." Care & Cleaning The largest concern in caring for combi ovens is the same as for steamers, which is water quality and scale removal. "Water filters should be replaced every three to six months, and generators should be descaled every six to 12 months, depending on hours of use," says Don Thompson, service technician at Baltimore-based EMR. The average lifespan of a combi oven is 10 to 15 years, depending on conditions in the kitchen. Placement in the kitchen also is a factor in the units' service life. "If a unit is located over a drain, then steam and water can de- teriorate the frame or internal components," says Thomp- son. "If it sits beside an open burner range, then sides may be exposed to excessive heat, which could damage internal components." As a general rule, most operating components can be replaced or rebuilt, although the cost of some electronic parts has been increasing greatly in recent years, resulting in higher repair costs, he says. "If structural issues or repair costs are 50 percent the cost of replacement, a new unit most likely is required," says Thompson. 10 Q4 2018 THE QUARTERLY

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