A commercial slicer can quickly turn many of the products in your walk in into uniform, perfectly sliced pieces ready to serve, making your staff’s job very easy and improving the efficiency of your operation. Slicers are usually used to cut meats, cheese, and eggs, among other things. A commercial slicer consists of an electric motor, a metal base, and a feeder tray that moves product past a metal blade to produce a thin slice.
What Do You Want To Slice?
While the slicer itself is a pretty simple device, not all slicers are created equal, and you need to be careful when purchasing a slicer to avoid getting the wrong one. It all comes down to what exactly you intend to slice. That’s because different slicers have different capabilities, and if you try to slice something that’s too heavy for your slicer, you’ll end up with a burned out motor.
The problem is that you’ll almost always be tempted to get a standard or light duty slicer because they are significantly less expensive than larger, heavier duty slicers. That’s perfectly fine if you just need to slice up some deli meat. But if you need to slice any kind of cheese or frozen product, your poor slicer is going to bog down and burn out very quickly. Here’s how to decide which kind of slicer is right for you based on the type of product you want to slice:
- Standard Duty Slicers are not recommended for slicing cheese
- Medium Duty Slicers can slice cheese at most for an hour or two a day. They are not recommended for frozen product
- Heavy Duty Slicers can slice any amount of cheese or frozen product
Heavier duty slicers also tend to have a larger blade, which allows you to slice larger product. Make sure you size the blade diameter to the size of the product you want to slice. All slicers allow you to adjust the thickness of the slice and should be NSF certified and have safety features like a knife guard.
Manual vs. Automatic Slicers
A manual slicer requires one of your staff to operate the feeder tray back and forth to run food product past the slicing blade. Some manual slicers also feature a gravity fed feeder tray, which ensures the product is in the proper position to slice on each pass.
Automatic slicers feature an electrically powered pusher for independent operation. If you’re slicing large amounts of product all at once, an automatic slicer is more convenient because it can slice continuously without constant staff assistance.
Slicer Cleaning & Maintenance
Slicers should be sanitized on a regular daily schedule using a properly mixed commercial sanitizing concentrate and water. Many slicers have a built in sharpening stone that will keep the blade consistently sharp. Of course, whenever your staff is working around an ultra-sharp blade whirring at a high speed, they should have cut resistant gloves on.
There are several moving parts in the feeder tray and carriage assemblies on a slicer that should be lubricated regularly to ensure smooth operation and improve the lifespan of the slicer. Always use a food-grade lubricant for these tasks. Over time and lots of use, parts of your slicer are going to wear out, most commonly the slicing blade and the drive belt (if applicable). Fortunately the parts that most commonly wear out are also relatively easy to replace. Search for slicer parts by manufacturer here.