Ice resurfacer

Ice resurfacer

An ice resurfacer is a truck-like vehicle used to clean and smooth the surface of an ice rink, originally developed by Frank J. Zamboni in 1949 in the city of Paramount, California. Frank J. Zamboni & Co, Inc. and other companies manufacture ice resurfacing machines. Zamboni is a federally (U.S.) and internationally registered trademark, though the term is often used as a generic colloquialism for ice resurfacing vehicles.


The heart of an ice resurfacer is the "conditioner", a large device dragged behind the vehicle. A large, very sharp blade, similar to those used in industrial paper cutters, shaves the surface off the ice, and an auger in front of the blade sweeps the shavings to the center of the conditioner, where a second auger (or, in early models, a paddle-and-chain conveyor) picks them up. Behind the blade, wash water is often sprayed on the ice by nozzles at either end of the conditioner; this wash water is confined inside the conditioner by the runners on either end and a rubber squeegee at the rear of the conditioner, and picked up by a vacuum nozzle to be filtered through a screen, and recirculated. This washing process removes any foreign material that might otherwise become embedded in the ice surface. At the rear of the conditioner, a sprinkler pipe wets a cloth towel that lays down clean water to fill the residual grooves and form a new ice surface. Hot water (140°F to 160°F, 60°C) is frequently used where available because it melts and smoothes the rough top layer to create a flat, smooth ice surface. This water in many rinks is filtered and treated before being heated to remove any residual minerals and chemicals in the water. These chemicals and minerals would otherwise make the ice brittle or soft, give it pungent odours, or make it cloudy.

The rest of the machine exists to support the conditioner. An engine or electric motor provides propulsion (four-wheel drive with carbide-tipped tire studs) and hydraulic power. The main tank holds clean water for making new ice. The wash tank holds a supply of water for the optional wash function. The "dump tank" holds the shaved ice picked up by the augers. The conditioner and dump tank are raised and lowered by hydraulic lifts, while the augers are powered by hydraulic motors.

Most ice resurfacers run on natural gas, propane or electric power, or less commonly on gasoline.

Many ice resurfacers are fitted with a "board brush", a rotary brush powered by a hydraulic motor, extended and retracted on the left side of the machine on a hydraulic arm. The brush sweeps accumulated bits of loose ice along the kick plates below the dasher boards of the rink into the conditioner. The use of a board brush can dramatically reduce the need for edging of the rink.

Ice edgers

The ice around the edges has a tendency to build up as the conditioner blade does not fully extend to the outer edges of the conditioner and it is unwise to "ride" (drive while touching) the dasherboards. An ice edger, a device similar to a rotary lawn mower, is used to cut down the edges of the ice surface that the ice resurfacer cannot cut. An ice edger does not alleviate ice that has an overall bowl or mushroom shape.

A new edging system was introduced in 2000, the Continuous Edging System (Conti-Edger). It integrates edging into the normal process of ice-resurfacing, by mounting a secondary pneumatically controlled blade on the side of the ice resurfacer, similar to the main blade.

New technologies

Ice resurfacing technology continues to advance. Laser-guided systems that automatically adjust the conditioner's cutting blade and the Fast Ice system, which uses mist instead of water and a towel, are now available, but very costly.


* Frank J. Zamboni & Co. Inc. - Manufacturers of the original and most popular ice resurfacer, the Zamboni [] Ice Resurfacer, first sold in 1950. Headquartered in Paramount, California, USA.
* Resurfice Corp. - Manufacturers of the Olympia and Olympia Millennium ice resurfacers. Resurfice ice resurfacers are the second most common ice resurfacer used in North America. Founded in 1963 [] , headquartered in Ontario, Canada. Its ice resurfacers are based on a Chevrolet Silverado truck platform.
* IceBear - The IceBear Electric is an electric powered, German ice resurfacer manufactured since 1982. In 2006, the machine was completely redesigned. Since 2005, IceBear belongs to the Resurfice Corp., which builds the Olympia machine.
* Broddway - Swedish manufacturer, produced a small, three wheeled machine called "Park Ice".
* Engo - Italian manufacturer of ice resurfacers since 1979. The electrical machines are called "Elettra".
* WM Mulser - Italian manufacturer since 1986.
* Dupon - French manufacturer since 1960. First manufacturer of ice resurfacers in Europe.
* Derol - actual Czech manufacturer since 1999.
* Design Form - American manufacturer of a small ice resurfacing machine called "Show Ice - Resurfacer", e.g. used at Holiday on Ice.
* Destarol - former Czech manufacturer from 1969 to 1999.
* FICO - Finnish manufacturer.
* Holmsten - tried to copy the Olympia machine in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Was not very successful.
* Icecat/UKKO - Finnish manufacturer that produces ice resurfacers since 1999.United States
* The Ice Wizard Small electric Ice Resurfacer manufactured in United States since 2002
* Ledox - former Czech type of ice resurfacer, manufactured from 1966 to 1969 by Chemopetrol
* Novarol - Slovakian, three wheeled ice resurfacer
*Tennant - manufacturer of cleaning equipment, produced ice resurfacers (Type 760) from 1972 to 1974.
*Winterteknik - Swedish manufacturer of the "IT 2000", went bankrupt.
*Züko - Swiss manufacturer since the 1990s. Produces an electrical machine called "Queen".
*Fuji - Japanese manufacturer.

"Zamboni" trademark

Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. takes a strong stance against the "Zamboni" name being used as a genericized trademark for ice resurfacers. On August 15, 2000, Frank J. Zamboni & Co, Inc. was awarded a registered trademark on the design and configuration of the Zamboni Ice Resurfacer by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Fact|date=February 2007


Due to Zamboni's partnership with Ford Motor Co., certain NHL arenas use the Zamboni's competitor, the Olympia. Notably, General Motors Place, the home rink of the Vancouver Canucks, will not use a Zamboni for obvious reasons of competition.

Cultural references

* A Zamboni resurfacer made repeated (and always nonsensical) appearances in the "Peanuts" comic strip, first appearing in a strip during the 1980 Winter Olympics. [] Snoopy usually drove the Zamboni, although Woodstock had a small Zamboni for his bird bath. As a result many people who have never seen resurfacers associate them with the Zamboni name. One time Linus thought that the Great Pumpkin was rising out of the pumpkin patch, only to realize, much to Sally's outrage, that it was merely a Zamboni.
* In a Drabble comic strip, Norman's new "exotic foreign sports car" turned out to be a Zamboni.
* On the TV series "", Gil Grissom commented in the episode Primum Non Necere, "There are three things in life people like to stare at: a rippling stream, a fire in a fire place, and a Zamboni going around and around." Sara Sidle noted immediately afterward that this was a quote from "Peanuts".
* Former baseball third baseman Ken Reitz was nicknamed "The Zamboni."
* In the Canadian cartoon series "Chilly Beach", Dale is a professional Zamboni driver.
* An episode of the comedy/history series "History Bites" made a throwaway reference to the Zamboni family, employed to tidy the Colosseum between gladiator matches, circa AD 100.
* WWE wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin once drove a Zamboni to the ring to confront WWE chairman Vince McMahon at Joe Louis Arena.
* On the television series "Cheers", Carla's second husband Eddie was killed when he was run over by a Zamboni. "Cheers" writer Ken Levine has said that the show's writers were initially concerned that they would not legally be able to use the name "Zamboni", but that when Frank J. Zamboni & Co. was contacted about it, the Zamboni family loved the idea and readily granted permission for the name to be used. [ [ By Ken Levine: The kiss of death for Eddie LeBec ] ]
* A hit song by the Gear Daddies is called "Zamboni."
* In the Canadian movie "Bon Cop, Bad Cop", one of the bodies is found attached to a Zamboni.
* In their song "King of Spain", Moxy Früvous sings that the Toronto Maple Leafs call the narrator to drive their Zamboni.
* In the musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", Freddy sings that he wants his "own personal Zamboni" in the song "Great Big Stuff."
* A Zamboni is mentioned in the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Canadian Idiot"
* In the "ER" episode 'A Miracle Happens Here' a drunken Zamboni driver levels a group of ice skaters, sending them to the ER.
* In an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Plankton freezes the Krusty Krab, Mr. Krabs has ice resurfacer referred to as a Clamboni Machine.
* In the film "" three of the "Ducks" crash a resurfacer through the boards.
* In the pilot episode of "Reaper", a Zamboni driver gets underneath the Zamboni after it stalls and is killed when it starts up and runs over him.
* A quote from comedy movie Blades Of Glory about two male ice skaters trying to compete as pairs team refers Zamboni: 'These guys put the bone in Zamboni!'


External links

* [ Zamboni Facts and Photos]
* [ Not just a tool of the trade, the Zamboni is a hockey icon]

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