Here we are in our gelato shop. Let's take a look around: there are so many tools we use to make creams, granitas, and sorbets “come alive”. There is bound to be some quite new stuff there, something else has been around for years and is starting to lose its magic touch. Even though they're very solid and long-lasting, it’s still machines we're talking about and when they get to be a bit over the hill, they might not be in good working order, or might not be worth repairing.
As a result, if you intend to invest in your own future and you have an old machine you are expecting to have problems in the near future, this is the best time to take care of it by taking that fateful decision to replace it. By assessing the status of what we have, and deciding what to do as a result, we can perform a check-up on all the equipment that we have in our workshop, hopefully together with an expert technician. The main ones are the pasteurizing machine, the aging vat, the batch freezer, and the combined gelato machine. Every piece of equipment has its own critical issues, so you need to examine them carefully in order to decide for either the fateful change or more simply, some less burdensome maintenance.
The pasteurizing machine:
First things first. As a skilled professional gelato maker, make sure that its cover is completely undamaged, because its job is to insulate the mixture inside it from the external environment. If it’s an electric pasteurizing machine, you should also check on the waterproof switches. The vat won't have any particular problems; it just needs to be cleaned thoroughly. The mixer may be slightly out of alignment, and the mixing impellers may be damaged by wear and tear or by improper placement of some solid ingredients. Make sure that the supply tap and the water connections are undamaged. If the resistors and the cooling device are defective, they usually need to be replaced, which unfortunately is expensive.
Make sure that the area under and next to the air-cooled condenser is sufficiently clean. A gelato maker needs to take care of even the slightest detail!
The batch freezer and the combined gelato machine:
Perfect sealing of the flange and the door that keeps the ejection hole shut is guaranteed by the sealing gaskets: they have to be lubricated periodically or in some cases, replaced to make sure they function properly. The ejection hole also has a series of rings that form a grate to protect it from accidental damage. Are they still there or have they been removed?
The mixers are the heart of the batch freezer. It usually has three “impellers” with scrapers or “teeth” attached, which rub against the internal walls of the cylinder, fitting against it exactly and guaranteeing that they stay perfectly clean. The teeth do not last forever; they need to be examined and they will eventually need to be replaced. The cylinder deserves a special mention: take care that it hasn't shifted dangerously or even been pressed slightly into an oval shape. In this case, you will absolutely need a technician to work on it.
The electric motor that runs the conveyor belts is located at the center of the batch freezer, in a horizontal position with respect to the earthing line. Sometimes the belts slacken or slip along their pulley; at other times, after years of hard work, they just wear out! It may be enough to lubricate them, or in some cases, you may need to think of replacing them. It's best to check, on your own if you can, or to have a technician do it.