Ice-making machinery for food and non-food applications

Germany is well know for its Mittelstand, the small and medium-sized companies that specialise in niche products, often in engineering, that have made the Made in Germany label well known the world over. Less famous perhaps is the equivalent of the Mittelstand in Italy, where many small and typically family-owned firms have successfully carved niches for themselves in international markets.

The piping for the heat exchanger. All the refrigeration circuitry is made by Kosmotecnica at the company factory.

Kosmotecnica, based in Milan, has established itself as a supplier of high quality machinery within a specific range. A small family-owned company Kosmotecnica has been building automatic ice-making equipment, and only this equipment, since 1965. Today it employs seven people to manufacture relatively large capacity machines that are used to produce ice for a range of sectors. In the food sector our machines are used in the bakery, meat, and fish industries, says Gabriele Padoan, the company director, but they are also used, for example, in the chemicals business. In Italy I know that major food manufacturers such as Barilla, Colussi and San Carlo, are using our machines, but in many instances, however, we are unaware of the identity of the final customer as the machinery is sold through a reseller. For example we have sold several machines in the south of Spain, in Andalucía, through an exclusive reseller, so we do not know who the user is, explains Mr Padoan.


High capacity flake ice and granular ice machines

Kosmotecnica machines produce flake ice and granular ice. The company used to produce a range of machines for ice nuggets in small volumes, but then discontinued that line as over the last 20 years the market became too competitive with other manufacturers from Italy, and later China, entering the market with cheaper products. Only by making and selling thousands of machines would it have been possible to compete so instead the company decided to pull out and concentrate instead on machines for flakes and granular ice. By focusing on these two types of ice we can now offer a range of machines producing from 200 kg to 12 tonnes of granular ice per day and from 600 kg to 9 tonnes of flake ice per day, although we specialise in the bigger sizes from 2 tonnes and above. At this size level there are not too many other manufacturers who are producing this equipment, particularly for the granular ice machines. Within the fishery and aquaculture industry Mr Padoan is aware that his machines are used in the Greek aquaculture industry by some of the biggest farmers of seabass and seabream. We have been selling our equipment to some of those companies for more than two decades now, he observes, so it must be performing to their satisfaction.

The modular construction of the ice making machinery allows the capacity to be adjusted to the volumes of ice needed, thereby saving on power and water.

Kosmotecnica machines are build by hand for precision. They are sold on markets in Europe, Africa, and even Asia.

At Kosmotecnica the machinery is all made by hand. The kind of precision that is needed cannot be replicated by a machine, says Mr Padoan. Four technicians are needed to work on a large capacity ice-making machine. The entire machine except for the compressor, the thermostat, and the condenser, is made in-house, while those three components are sourced from specialised companies in different parts of Europe or their distributors in Milan. Since the major part of the machine, the ice generator and all the refrigeration circuitry are made in-house, one of the major advantages we have is that we can supply spare parts for even our oldest models, says Mr Padoan, the company just has to inform us what part is required and we can ship it over. If a company buys a machine from Kosmotecnica the availability of replacement parts is guaranteed for the life of the machine. Aware of the need to conserve energy Kosmotecnica’s ice-makers are modular in design. This means that one or more modules can be operated simultaneously to adapt the capacity to the production needed and thereby avoid all the waste generated by excessive production. The modular construction also guarantees the production of ice even when the machine is being serviced, since other modules can operate while one module is undergoing maintenance. Granular ice from Kosmotecnica’s machines has a temperature of –0.7 degrees C and therefore excellent refrigeration power. The refrigeration power (the ability to absorb heat) of ice increases as it reaches the stage where it begins to liquefy (0 degrees C). By producing ice at –0.7 degrees the machine saves on power as it will take more power to produce ice at a lower temperature. Power is also saved when storing the ice as again it does not have to be stored at temperatures well below zero degrees. The granular ice comes in different sizes with smaller machines giving finer granules and bigger machines producing coarser-grained ice.


Kosmotecnica makes a range of machines for the production of flake ice and granular ice. Capacities vary from 200 kg to 12 tonnes of granular ice and from 600 kg to 9 tonnes of flake ice per day.

Main markets in southern Europe and Africa

Kosmotecnica’s machines are highly versatile and are available with air condensation, freshwater or saltwater. Their stainless steel construction makes them sturdy and easy to clean while the evaporator cylinder is constructed from a special alloy that is robust yet rapidly transmits the cooling. It is easy to install and commence operations as the machine only needs to be connected to an electricity source and a water supply. Several safety features are also built into the machine including an automatic restart after a temporary loss of water or power, circuit breakers to protect the compressor and refrigeration circuits in case of fluctuations in pressure, and a delaying mechanism that prevents the screw from stopping immediately when the machine is idle to protect the reduction gear. These features together with the reliability of Kosmotecnica’s machines have made them popular products in several parts of the world including Spain, Greece, Italy, Finland, Ukraine, Croatia, parts of Central Africa – Congo, Angola, and Senegal, and North Africa – Tunisia, Libya. Kosmotecnica machines have even been sold in Singapore. The most important markets are, however, Spain and Greece.

The crisis in Europe has had an impact on the company and a few months ago sales were lower than they were two or three years ago. And while the crisis in Europe was economic and financial, in North Africa there have been political problems and wars that have depressed sales to this region. This instability in many its markets has meant that for the last couple of years Kosmotecnica has not invested in developing new machines or new technologies. Now, however, the situation looks better, sales have been picking up and Mr Padoan hopes that things are finally moving in the right direction. Within Europe he wants to move into countries where the company’s products are not currently being sold and Africa is an important market with a lot of potential. The company has started considering other developments and including an ice nuggets machine with a capacity of 1-5 tonnes of cubes a day for industrial use. This machine will differ from the ice nugget makers Kosmotecnica produced in the past in that those were for hotels, restaurants, and bars and had a lower capacity, while the new product will be used by industry and have a much higher capacity.

Kosmotecnica S.r.l.

Via Mantova, 2

I 2-20098 Civesio S. Giuliano M.


Tel.: +39 02 982 81031

Fax: +39 02 982 81909

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Director: Mr. Gabriele Padoan

Products: Flake ice and granular ice making equipment

Machine capacities: 200 kg to 12 tonnes of granular ice per day and from 600 kg to 9 tonnes of flake ice per day

Markets: Spain, Greece, Italy, Finland, Ukraine, Croatia, parts of Central Africa – Congo, Angola, and Senegal, and North Africa – Tunisia, Libya.

Employees: 7