With key roles in establishments ranging out of cafés and delis to pizza parlors and steakhouses, commercial slicers are some seriously adaptable pieces of gear. Not only do slicers induce one to pile a sub high with sliced cheese and meat, but they will outperform almost any other instrument to rapidly provide consistently sliced vegetables to dress your baked-fresh pizzas. Even cooks in high-volume steakhouses may utilize a slicer to generate consistent cuts of meat, helping ensure that each beef and chop cook uniformly.
Slicers vary widely in terms of the benefits they could provide, so a little research is to guarantee you receive the proper version for the job. As with any kitchen tool, you’ll need to understand how you’ll be using your commercial slicer day-in and day-out so you can be sure to choose the best one for your needs. You should buy a great quality commercial slicer from a professional restaurant supply store. You’ll want to consider what foods you’re going to be slicing and how frequently.
Sizing Your Deli Slicer
The size of a slicer’s blade and the power of its motor, expressed in horsepower, is related to the quantity and type of food that the equipment needs to be able to handle.
• 9-inch Blade: For cutting vegetables and meat in limited volumes, a slicer with a light-duty, 9-inch blade and 1⁄5- or 1⁄4-horsepower motor is suitable for slicing food for a couple of minutes daily. Slicers this little are rarely designed to handle cheese.
• 10-inch Blade: A slicer with a medium-duty, 10-inch blade and a 1⁄5- or 1⁄4-horsepower motor will probably be able to perform around an hour per day of slicing meat and vegetables. These slicers’ blades are still too small and their motors too weak to handle slicing cheese.
• 12-inch Blade: The most popular size, a slicer with a 12-inch blade can be discovered in several busy restaurants and delis that serve fresh meat up daily. These machines usually sport 1⁄2-horsepower motors, but some include more modest 1⁄3-horsepower motors. These slicers are the tiniest equipment suitable for handling cheese and should still only be relied on to do so in limited quantities, normally a half-hour or so each day.
• 13-inch Blade: Slicers using 13-inch and bigger blades can handle bigger cuts of meat than their smaller kin. Many slicers of the size are designed to handle all types of products, including cheese, and can do so all day and at virtually infinite quantities. A few 13-inch slicers are also effective at cutting frozen foods. Look for 1⁄2-horsepower or even more powerful motors to get the most from these slicers.
• 14-inch Blade: In case you’ll be slicing large cuts of beef or frozen products throughout the day, you might want to think about one of these largest slicers. A sizable 14-inch blade glides through suspended merchandise quickly and more readily than blades.
Slicer Construction Materials
It’s not just the size of a slicer’s blade along with the power rating of its engine that ascertains how well a slicer will perform. The material it’s made of will play a part, too. Economy design slicers are typically made of lightweight aluminum, while the heavy-duty units are built of stainless steel. Aluminum is lightweight and tends to lessen the price of the slicer, but it is not quite as durable or resistant to harm as stainless steel.
The materials and processes that manufacturers use to forge a slicer’s blade also play a part in the equipment’s performance and durability.
A hard-chromed blade is coated with a layer of chrome, a metal that provides superior hardness to stainless steel.
Hollow-ground knives are sharpened to a concave point that yields the sharpest edge achievable so that the equipment can cut through dense products quickly and efficiently and with as little wear and tear on the motor as possible.
Stainless steel is a mixture of several metals that always includes iron and chrome. Slicer manufacturers often add additional metals to the combination to improve a blade’s performance in one or more areas including its capacity to fight back corrosion in the presence of acidic foods, its capacity to retain a sharp edge, and its general longevity. Each manufacturer may utilize its trademarked name because of its special steel alloy, but they are designed to offer some benefit over traditional stainless alloys.
Belt-Driven vs. Gear-Driven Transmission
Electricity from a commercial slicer’s motor is transferred to its blade either by a belt or by a set of gears. Economy models are usually built with belt-driven transmissions because they are the cheapest to produce, but these cannot handle the high need. Gear-driven slicers come in a greater up-front cost, but they are capable of managing both larger volumes and denser products. The tradeoff is that, while slicer motor transmission belts are more prone to failure than gears, they are also cheaper and easier to replace.
You have the choice between manually-operated slicers and automatic slicers. The motion of the carriage on a guide slicer is controlled entirely by the user. An automatic slicer can be set to automatically carry out the motion that pulls the product throughout the blade to create each piece. The principal benefit a manual slicer brings is its reduced upfront cost, while the principal benefit of an automatic slicer is its ability to cut down on labor costs. After an automatic slicer is set up and running on, the user can measure away to carry out different jobs and depart the slicer to perform the job.
Given that industrial slicers are these powerful pieces of gear with razor-sharp blades, so it’s obvious that consumers should take extreme caution when working them. Given the inherent risks that commercial slicers pose, equipment manufacturers do their part to keep users safe by building several safety features into their products.
• Numerous interlocks keep the blade from Spinning when certain slicer components that are crucial to maintaining the safety and performance of the unit are missing or not attached correctly.
• A no-voltage release prevents the slicer from mechanically resuming operation after a power outage. This feature prevents possible injuries and harm that may be caused if a slicer were to suddenly resume surgery after being left unattended while the power is out.
• A knife guard helps protect users’ fingers from the blade and prevents damage caused by the blade coming into contact with foreign objects. Many slicers are outfitted with knife guard interlocks that prevent the gear from clinging on if the guard isn’t correctly attached.
• A pair of cut-resistant gloves leave a great accessory to your commercial slicer. It’s good practice to require staff members to wear such protection every time they operate and clean the slicer so they’re sure to stay protected from injury.
In regards to slicer safety, nothing simplifies appropriate instruction and close adherence to your gear manual’s operating processes. If you don’t feel comfortable training employees utilize your deli slicer, producers are often willing to send a representative for your kitchen to instruct employees how to use the equipment sensibly.
Commercial Slicer Sanitation
Going hand-in-hand with commercial slicer security is sanitation. Sanitation is in itself a form of security because it protects guests and staff from the illnesses brought on by bacteria that may grow on poorly maintained equipment. Much like slicer security, nothing simplifies appropriate training in maintaining the equipment clean, but producers have built slicers with features that make them easier to keep. A number of these features are needed for the equipment to meet NSF 8 standards.
• Kickstands that prop slicers upward, increasing one end off of the countertop or work table so that staff can thoroughly clean and sanitize the bottom of the slicer and the surface under it.
• Rounded edges and coved corners on the entire body and foundation of a slicer can make it much easier to wipe clean and reduce the number of nooks and crannies that may harbor residue which makes it possible for bacteria to thrive.
• Commercial slicers are complex machines, so thoroughly cleaning them requires that specific components are removed and washed by hand or sent via the dish machine. Traditionally, many of those components can only be eliminated with resources, but manufacturers and agencies like NSF understand that complex disassembly routines discourage staff from practicing the correct maintenance chores. That’s why there’s been a push in today’s design of commercial slicers to make as many components as possible removable without tools. These easy-to-remove components often include the slicer’s meat grip, knife sharpener, and carriage.
• Drip grooves and no-drip foundations direct food juices to areas that can readily be cleaned, instead of letting them accumulate in hard-to-reach spots or seep into the slicers’ components and controls.
• Moisture-proof controls and sealed splash zones are protected from moisture and food residue that could gunk them up or trigger a sanitation issue.