Brookshire Brothers' ice plant works to meet rising summer demand

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With triple digits temperatures on the rise, ice is becoming a necessity in East Texas.

Compared to an average day, Lufkin's Brookshire Brothers ice house distributed twice the amount of ice last week during the Independence Day holiday. However, the supply hasn't decreased a bit.

East Texas News found out how 85 tons of ice are made each day.

Ice has been made and distributed at the Brookshire Brothers ice plant in Lufkin since 1995.

"We produce on an average 170 pallets of eight-pound bags of ice a day, which is 105 bags per pallet," said James Davis, Brookshire Brothers' ice plant supervisor.

This plant is the only place in East Texas that distributes ice to customers at 35 convenience stores and 76 retail grocery stores in Texas and Louisiana.

All of the water made into ice comes from Lufkin.

"When it comes through it has a lot of chlorine in it and all kinds of other impurities that don't make quality ice," Davis said.

No worries - filters take care of the impurities.

"One is a sand filter and the other is a rock and charcoal filter," said Kirk Looney, the company's electronics instrumentation and engineering, maintenance supervisor. "The purpose behind that is to remove any incoming solids that might be in the water."

Once the water is clean, it is run through a chiller to freeze it and turn it into ice.

"We have 48 tubes and it pours water on the outside of the tube and on the inside of the tube; the tube is hollow," Davis said. "It makes ice on the outside and inside after it runs for 12 minutes."

In one minute, 54 eight-pound bags are made.

"Whenever we get through bagging the ice it goes into the freezer, which stays at a minus 10," Davis said.

It only takes three men to run the plant thanks to the many different machines.

"What we've done to increase the efficiency of this plant is we've computerized everything," Looney said.

With a more efficient plant, 85 tons of ice are made in 24 hours, and 35 thousand gallons of water are purified each month.

Officials at the Lufkin ice plant said the demand for ice across the state will slow down during the fall months and pick back up again in March.

Copyright 2013 KTRE. All rights reserved.