In both gravity and pump fed machines, there are hoppers or cabinets used to hold your product before traveling to the the freezing cylinder. Both gravity and pressurized machines use overrun. The gravity fed machine uses air tubes and the pressurized machine uses pumps. However a gravity fed machine can never reach the same volume and overrun of a pressurized machine.
Gravity fed soft serve machines use gravity to feed the product mix into the cylinder while pump fed machines use pressurized pumps to push mix inside the freezing cylinders. With either option, you have pros & cons to each & the following points are ones you should consider when looking to invest into either option.
Pros & Cons Of Gravity & Pump Fed Machines
Price & Overrun
In terms of pricing, gravity machines are more economical than machines equipped with pumps. Pump fed machines tend to be more durable than gravity fed machines.
Overrun, which refers to the air added to the finished product mix, is better controlled in a machine with a pump. The maximum amount of overrun you can add to the mix in a gravity fed machine is about 30% - 35% but in a machine that is pump fed, you can get a maximum overrun of about 72%. Example: 72% yield means that when you have one gallon of product mix, you end up having 1.72 gallons of finished frozen product.
For more on overrun, check out our article: What Is Overrun & Why Does It Matter When Making Product?
Maintenance & Volume
Gravity fed machines are easier for maintenance. They are easier to clean and use due to the technology and fewer parts. Even with intervals in between production, the machine is much quicker to prepare for the next batch.
A factor that heavily influences the machine you should choose is your projected sales volume. If you have higher sales volume, then a pump machine is recommended because it produces 20% to 25% more finished product mix. This will save you more money in the long term if you are a large business. However, if you are a small business or have a low demand for soft serve ice cream in your business, then gravity machines are better as they save you time in terms of cleaning, maintenance and they are initially cheaper.
Taste & Texture
The biggest factor is the taste and texture produced by either type of machine. Because pump machines infuse more air into the mixture, it gives it a smoother & creamier texture as well as a larger size per serving. A gravity fed machines tends to have a more intense & flavorful taste because there is less air added to the mix. Since the finished product is heavier & denser than soft serve from a pump fed machine, it could increase profits in a self-serve frozen yogurt shop that sells its products by weight.
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