Weather heats up, demand for ice kicks in

August 10, 2010 (CHICAGO)

How hot is it this summer? So hot even the air conditioners are sweating as they hum away. And at Lang Ice on the city's Southwest Side, business is humming right along, too. It is, after all, the first hot summer since 2005.

"Business is really good right now. We're keeping busy," said Andy Lang, Lang Ice, v.p. of manufacturing. "Well, right now we're bagging up about 600,000 pounds of ice everyday."

They're so busy that this summer at Lang Ice that they don't turn off the machines. Ever. The place goes all day, all night. They're turning a cool profit.

"I'd say about twenty five percent more this summer than the last two," said Lang.

Lang's grandfather started the business in 1920 and in those days they used ice from frozen lakes. Then they started making their own. These guys make out 600,000 pounds a day.

"We use city of Chicago water. We run it through a filtration process. We chill it down, freeze it and in about an 18-minute time window we send it out through packaging."

And they still make those huge crystal clear 400 pound blocks of ice-- up to 280 a day. It's a hot seller.

"Block ice today is used for ice carving, It's used as background in movie shoots when they grind it up in to snow. And some construction sites use it to mix in with their concrete," said Lang. "Well, you got to keep the concrete cool in hot temperatures like this so that it cures properly."

So ice makers are like farmers. The better the weather the bigger the harvest.

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