Crushed Ice Makers

Crushed ice is not just an ingredient; it’s an experience enhancer for drinks and food presentations. The demand for crushed ice makers has surged as both culinary professionals and home enthusiasts seek to replicate the quality and texture of restaurant-grade ice. This guide delves into the world of crushed ice makers, exploring their benefits, types, and essential considerations for choosing the right model.

What is Crushed Ice?

Crushed ice, characterized by its finely fragmented texture, stands out for its rapid cooling properties and minimal dilution, making it a favorite in both culinary and therapeutic contexts. Unlike traditional ice cubes or specialty shapes like nugget or crescent ice, crushed ice consists of smaller, irregular pieces that more thoroughly envelop whatever they're cooling, offering distinct advantages and uses. Here's a closer look at the unique properties of crushed ice and the reasons behind its widespread popularity.

Rapid Cooling

The primary advantage of crushed ice is its exceptional ability to cool beverages and foods quickly. Its small, fragmented pieces have a larger total surface area compared to whole ice cubes, allowing for more efficient heat transfer. This means drinks or foods come to the desired temperature faster, a quality particularly appreciated in settings where speed and efficiency are paramount, such as busy bars or restaurants.

Minimal Dilution

While it might seem counterintuitive, the rapid cooling effect of crushed ice can actually lead to less dilution of beverages. Because drinks reach their optimal chilled temperature quicker, the ice has less time to melt. This property is especially valued in the preparation of cocktails and high-quality spirits, where preserving the original flavor profile is crucial.

Versatility in Use

Crushed ice's versatility makes it a staple beyond just cooling drinks. Its applications include:

Accessibility and Production

Crushed ice can be made using various methods, from manual crushing with a mallet or ice crusher to using specialized ice machines that produce finely crushed ice at high volumes. This accessibility contributes to its popularity across different sectors.

Aesthetic Appeal

In addition to its practical benefits, crushed ice has an aesthetic appeal that enhances the presentation of drinks and dishes. Its sparkling, snow-like appearance adds a touch of elegance and sophistication, elevating the overall dining or drinking experience.

Crushed ice's unique combination of rapid cooling, minimal dilution, versatility, and aesthetic appeal makes it an indispensable resource in many settings. From bustling commercial kitchens and upscale cocktail bars to home entertainment and therapeutic use, crushed ice continues to be celebrated for its ability to elevate the ordinary into something extraordinary. Whether used to showcase culinary creations, craft the perfect cocktail, or soothe an injury, crushed ice remains a beloved choice for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Understanding Crushed Ice

Understanding crushed ice and its unique benefits compared to traditional ice cubes or nugget ice involves examining its physical properties, such as surface area and melting rate, and how these characteristics make it particularly suited for specific applications like cocktails, smoothies, and culinary uses. Here's a deeper look at what sets crushed ice apart and why it's favored in many scenarios.

Surface Area and Cooling Efficiency

Crushed ice has a much larger total surface area than traditional ice cubes or nugget ice due to its small, fragmented pieces. This extensive surface area allows for a more rapid transfer of heat, meaning crushed ice can cool beverages and foods more quickly. In the context of cocktails and smoothies, this rapid cooling is desirable as it brings the drink to an optimal chilled temperature almost immediately, enhancing the consumer's experience.

Melting Rate and Dilution

Despite its high surface area, the melting rate of crushed ice can be both a benefit and a drawback, depending on the application. For cocktails and high-quality spirits where dilution can be a concern, the key is in the balance. Crushed ice cools the drink quickly enough that it can be consumed before excessive melting and dilution occur. This balance between cooling efficiency and controlled dilution makes crushed ice particularly appealing for mixologists and bartenders aiming to preserve the integrity of their creations.

Versatility in Culinary Applications

Beyond beverages, crushed ice offers unique benefits in culinary applications:

Comparison with Other Ice Types

Crushed ice stands out for its optimal balance of cooling efficiency and minimal dilution, making it especially suitable for cocktails, smoothies, and various culinary applications. Its versatility, combined with the unique textural qualities it brings to beverages and foods, underscores its popularity in both professional and home settings. Understanding the specific benefits of crushed ice compared to traditional cubes or nugget ice can help individuals and businesses make informed choices about the best ice type for their needs, ensuring the desired balance of temperature, texture, and dilution for an enhanced drinking and dining experience.

How Crushed Ice Makers Work

Crushed ice makers are sophisticated appliances that go beyond merely breaking down larger ice cubes into smaller pieces. They incorporate a series of mechanical and technological innovations designed to produce uniformly crushed ice, suitable for a wide range of applications from beverages to food preservation. Here’s an insight into how crushed ice makers work, emphasizing the key components and processes involved.

Key Components of Crushed Ice Makers

  1. Water Inlet: Water is supplied to the ice maker from a connected water line, filling the reservoir or directly entering the freezing chamber.
  2. Freezing Mechanism: Unlike traditional ice makers that freeze water into specific shapes, crushed ice makers often freeze water into a solid sheet or into smaller, more manageable pieces that are easier to crush.
  3. Ice Crushing Unit: This is the heart of the crushed ice maker, where the magic happens. After the ice is formed, it is moved to the crushing unit, which typically consists of blades or a grinding mechanism designed to break the ice into small, uniform pieces.
  4. Collection Bin: Once the ice is crushed, it is dispensed into a bin or directly into a container, ready for use.

The Process of Making Crushed Ice

  1. Freezing Stage: Water flows into the freezing chamber where it is quickly frozen into a thin sheet or into smaller cubes, depending on the design of the ice maker. This stage is crucial as it determines the quality and texture of the final crushed ice.
  2. Crushing Stage: The frozen ice is then moved to the crushing unit. In models that freeze water into a sheet, the ice sheet may first be broken into larger chunks before being fed into the crusher. The crushing unit then mechanically breaks down the ice into finely crushed pieces. The size and texture of the crushed ice can often be adjusted depending on the model.
  3. Dispensing Stage: The crushed ice is then dispensed into a bin or directly into a container. Some crushed ice makers are equipped with a dispensing system that allows users to fill glasses or containers directly from the machine.

Technological Innovations

Crushed ice makers are complex machines that rely on precise mechanical actions and technological innovations to produce consistently crushed ice. From the initial freezing of water to the final dispensing of perfectly crushed ice, each stage of the process is carefully controlled to meet the demands of both commercial and home users. Understanding how these machines work underscores the value they bring to various settings, providing a constant supply of crushed ice for beverages, culinary applications, and more.

Benefits of Using Crushed Ice Makers

Crushed ice makers are versatile appliances that enhance not just the quality of beverages and dishes but also bring efficiency and creativity to kitchens and bars. Their ability to produce finely crushed ice on demand provides a myriad of advantages for both home and commercial settings. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of using crushed ice makers:

1. Elevated Beverage Experience

2. Versatility in Culinary Applications

3. Enhanced Kitchen Efficiency

4. Cost-Effectiveness

5. Hygiene and Safety

6. Encourages Creativity

The use of crushed ice makers transcends the simple act of cooling beverages; it impacts various aspects of culinary and beverage service, from improving efficiency and hygiene to enhancing the sensory experience of drinks and dishes. For businesses, the investment in a crushed ice maker can lead to improved customer satisfaction and operational benefits. For home enthusiasts, it brings a professional touch to entertaining, allowing for restaurant-quality drinks and presentations. Overall, crushed ice makers represent a valuable addition to any kitchen or bar, blending functionality with the art of hospitality.

Types of Crushed Ice Makers

Crushed ice makers come in various types and sizes, each designed to meet specific needs, from small household gatherings to large-scale commercial operations. Understanding the different models available will help you choose the right one for your requirements. Here’s a guide to the main types of crushed ice makers and their ideal use cases.

1. Portable Crushed Ice Makers

2. Undercounter Crushed Ice Makers

3. Freestanding Crushed Ice Makers

4. Modular Crushed Ice Makers

5. Commercial Crushed Ice Machines

Choosing the Right Crushed Ice Maker

When selecting a crushed ice maker, consider the following factors to ensure you choose a model that meets your needs effectively:

By understanding the types of crushed ice makers available and considering your specific needs, you can select a model that offers convenience, efficiency, and the capacity to support your ice consumption requirements.

Choosing the Right Crushed Ice Maker

Choosing the right crushed ice maker involves balancing your needs and preferences with the features and capacities of various models. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision:

Assess Your Ice Production Needs

Consider Machine Size and Installation Space

Evaluate Specific Features and Preferences

Understand Maintenance and Cleaning Requirements

Budget Considerations

Choosing the right crushed ice maker is a decision that impacts not just the beverages you serve but also the efficiency of your kitchen or bar operation. By carefully assessing your needs, considering the size and installation requirements, and evaluating the features that matter most to you, you can select a crushed ice maker that meets your demands, fits your space, and enhances your culinary experiences. Remember, the best ice maker is one that balances functionality with convenience, ensuring you always have high-quality crushed ice at your fingertips.

Key Features to Look for in Crushed Ice Makers

When in the market for a crushed ice maker, paying attention to certain key features can make the difference between a satisfactory purchase and one that falls short of expectations. Here's a detailed look at the essential features to consider, ensuring both satisfaction and longevity from your crushed ice maker:

1. Energy Efficiency

2. Operational Noise Levels

3. Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

4. Size and Capacity

5. Water Filtration System

6. Durability

7. User-Friendly Controls

8. Warranty and Support

Investing in a crushed ice maker that aligns with your specific needs and preferences requires careful consideration of various features. By focusing on energy efficiency, operational noise, ease of maintenance, and other key factors listed above, you can select a machine that not only meets your immediate needs but also provides long-term satisfaction and reliability.

Installation and Maintenance of Crushed Ice Makers

Installing and maintaining a crushed ice maker properly is essential for ensuring its optimal performance and longevity. By following the correct setup instructions and adhering to regular cleaning and maintenance protocols, you can enjoy consistently high-quality ice and prevent common operational issues. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you get started and keep your machine running smoothly.

Installation Guide for Crushed Ice Makers

1. Choose the Right Location:

2. Connect to Water Supply:

3. Provide Power Supply:

4. Establish Drainage (if required):

5. Level the Unit:

Regular Maintenance and Cleaning

1. Daily Maintenance:

2. Cleaning and Sanitizing:

3. Descaling:

4. Replacing Filters:

5. Professional Servicing:

Proper installation and diligent maintenance are key to maximizing the performance and lifespan of your crushed ice maker. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your machine operates efficiently, produces high-quality ice, and serves your needs for many years to come. Regular cleaning, descaling, and prompt attention to any operational issues will help maintain the machine in top condition, providing you with a reliable source of crushed ice whenever you need it.

Popular Brands and Models of Crushed Ice Makers

In the crowded market of crushed ice makers, several brands stand out for their quality, reliability, and innovative features. Here's a comparative review of some of the most popular brands and models of crushed ice makers, highlighting their key features, pros, and cons to help you make an informed decision.

1. Hoshizaki

2. Scotsman

3. Manitowoc

4. GE Profile

5. Igloo

When selecting a crushed ice maker, consider your specific needs, including capacity, space, budget, and the type of ice preferred. Whether you're looking for a high-capacity machine for commercial use or a compact model for home entertaining, there's a wide range of options available from reputable brands. Each brand and model offers unique features and benefits, so weighing these against your requirements will help you find the perfect crushed ice maker to suit your needs.

Cost Analysis of Crushed Ice Makers

Investing in a crushed ice maker involves not just the initial purchase price but also considerations of operating costs, maintenance, and potential savings. A comprehensive cost analysis can help you make a cost-effective decision that balances quality with financial prudence. Here’s how to evaluate the costs associated with crushed ice makers:

Initial Purchase Price

Operating Costs

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Potential Savings

Long-Term Value

Making a cost-effective decision on a crushed ice maker requires balancing upfront costs with long-term operational expenses. By considering energy efficiency, water usage, maintenance needs, and potential savings from making ice in-house, you can select a model that offers the best value for your needs. Remember, investing in a higher-quality, durable unit from a reputable brand can save money and hassle over the ice maker's life, proving to be more economical in the long run.

Environmental Considerations

The environmental impact of crushed ice makers, especially in terms of energy consumption and refrigerant use, is an important consideration for both manufacturers and consumers in today’s eco-conscious world. With a growing emphasis on sustainability, it's essential to understand how these appliances can be designed and used in environmentally responsible ways. Here’s a look at the measures being taken to address environmental concerns and what consumers should consider when choosing and using a crushed ice maker.

Energy Consumption

Manufacturer Innovations:

Consumer Considerations:

Refrigerant Use

Manufacturer Innovations:

Consumer Considerations:

Water Usage

Manufacturer Innovations:

Consumer Considerations:

Sustainability and Recycling

Manufacturer Innovations:

Consumer Considerations:

As environmental awareness grows, both manufacturers and consumers play pivotal roles in ensuring crushed ice makers are used in environmentally responsible ways. By prioritizing energy efficiency, eco-friendly refrigerants, water conservation, and sustainability, we can mitigate the environmental impact of these convenient appliances. As consumers, making informed choices based on these factors can contribute significantly to broader environmental protection efforts.

User Reviews and Feedback

User reviews and feedback are crucial for understanding the real-world performance, benefits, and challenges of crushed ice makers. These insights offer a glimpse into what potential buyers can expect, aiding in making informed decisions. Below is a compilation of common themes found in user reviews across various brands and models of crushed ice makers.

Benefits Enjoyed by Users

  1. Convenience: Many users highlight the convenience of having a continuous supply of crushed ice on demand, eliminating the need for manual ice crushing or frequent trips to the store.
  2. Speed and Efficiency: Users often praise the quick ice production rates, noting how efficiently these machines meet their needs for immediate ice usage, especially during gatherings or business operations.
  3. Quality of Ice: The texture and consistency of the crushed ice produced are frequently mentioned as superior, with users appreciating the way it enhances their beverages without overly diluting them.
  4. Ease of Use: The simplicity of operation, with intuitive controls and easy setup, is a significant plus for many users, making these machines user-friendly even for those not tech-savvy.
  5. Compact and Aesthetic Designs: For residential users, the compact size and attractive design of some models are important, as they fit well in modern kitchens and bar areas.

Common Challenges Faced by Users

  1. Maintenance and Cleaning: A recurring theme in user feedback is the need for regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent issues like mold buildup or mineral scaling, which some find cumbersome.
  2. Noise Levels: Some users report that their ice makers are noisier than expected, which can be a distraction, especially in quiet home environments or small commercial spaces.
  3. Durability Concerns: Issues with parts breaking or the machine failing after a certain period are noted by some users, highlighting the importance of durability and reliable customer service.
  4. Water and Energy Consumption: While many appreciate the efficiency of their machines, a few users express concerns about higher-than-expected water and energy usage, affecting their utility bills.
  5. Size and Capacity Mismatch: Some users find that the ice maker they chose doesn’t adequately meet their capacity needs or takes up more space than anticipated, underscoring the importance of carefully considering size and production capacity before purchasing.

User Tips and Solutions

User reviews offer invaluable insights into the practical aspects of owning and operating a crushed ice maker. While the benefits of convenience, quality of ice, and ease of use are widely appreciated, potential buyers should also consider the challenges related to maintenance, noise, and durability. By taking into account these real-world experiences and feedback, consumers can make a more informed choice that aligns with their specific needs and expectations, ensuring satisfaction with their crushed ice maker investment.

Innovations and Future Trends

The crushed ice maker industry is at the forefront of incorporating innovative technologies that aim to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and the overall user experience. As consumer demands evolve and environmental concerns become more pronounced, manufacturers are responding with advanced features and smarter, more eco-friendly designs. Here’s an overview of recent advancements and a look into the future trends in ice-making technology.

Recent Innovations in Crushed Ice Makers

  1. Energy Efficiency Improvements: Modern crushed ice makers are becoming increasingly energy-efficient, with many models now boasting Energy Star certification. These improvements include better insulation, more efficient refrigeration systems, and programmable functions that minimize electricity use.
  2. Smart Connectivity: The integration of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity allows users to monitor and control their ice makers remotely via smartphone apps. This smart technology can also send alerts for maintenance needs or when ice is ready, enhancing convenience and efficiency.
  3. Eco-Friendly Refrigerants: There's a growing shift towards using refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP). Natural refrigerants like R290 (propane) and R600a (isobutane) are becoming more common in crushed ice makers, reducing their environmental impact.
  4. Water-Saving Technologies: Some of the latest models feature water recycling systems that reuse melted ice to make new ice, significantly reducing water wastage. This is particularly important in areas where water conservation is a priority.
  5. Improved Ice Quality and Customization: Advances in ice-making technology allow for better control over ice texture and size, enabling users to customize the ice to their specific preferences. This is achieved through adjustable settings and improved freezing techniques.

Forecasted Future Trends

  1. Integration with Smart Home Systems: As smart home ecosystems continue to expand, expect crushed ice makers to become more seamlessly integrated with other smart appliances, enabling comprehensive home automation that includes ice production based on real-time needs.
  2. Sustainability Focus: The trend towards sustainability will likely continue, with further advancements in energy and water efficiency, as well as the use of recyclable materials in manufacturing. The industry may also see an increase in solar-powered models for off-grid applications.
  3. Advanced Filtration Systems: Ensuring the ice is free from contaminants and tastes great will drive innovations in built-in water filtration systems, possibly incorporating reverse osmosis or UV purification to enhance ice quality further.
  4. Compact, Efficient Designs: As living spaces become smaller, there will be a push for more compact models that don’t sacrifice production capacity or efficiency. This will include portable crushed ice makers with higher output and better energy ratings.
  5. Health and Safety Features: Post-pandemic, health and safety have become paramount. Future models might include touchless operation, antimicrobial surfaces, and self-cleaning capabilities to ensure the ice is safe and the machine is free from bacteria and viruses.

The future of crushed ice makers looks promising, with technology playing a key role in making these appliances more efficient, sustainable, and integrated into our daily lives. As manufacturers continue to innovate, consumers can look forward to ice makers that not only meet their needs for convenience and efficiency but also align with broader environmental and health goals.

Crushed Ice Makers in Professional Settings

In professional settings such as restaurants and bars, crushed ice makers are more than just an appliance; they're a critical component in delivering quality service and enhancing the customer experience. These machines contribute significantly to the efficiency of operations and offer customization options that allow businesses to tailor their services to meet specific customer preferences. Let's delve into how crushed ice makers impact service quality and the customization opportunities they present.

Contribution to Service Quality

  1. Consistency in Beverage Preparation: Crushed ice from a reliable ice maker ensures that every drink served is uniformly chilled, contributing to consistent quality across all beverages. This consistency is key in maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  2. Speed and Efficiency: High-demand environments benefit greatly from the speed and efficiency of crushed ice makers. Bartenders and servers can quickly fill glasses with perfectly crushed ice, speeding up service and reducing wait times for customers.
  3. Aesthetic Appeal: The visual aspect of a drink plays a significant role in the overall dining or drinking experience. Crushed ice adds an element of sophistication to cocktails and other beverages, enhancing their presentation and appeal.
  4. Food Preservation: Beyond beverages, crushed ice is essential for displaying and preserving perishable food items such as seafood and produce. This not only ensures the items remain fresh and safe to consume but also adds to the visual appeal of the presentation.

Customization Options for Businesses

  1. Adjustable Ice Texture: Some commercial crushed ice makers offer adjustable settings to control the texture of the ice, from finely crushed to coarsely chopped. This allows establishments to customize the ice based on the type of drink or presentation requirement.
  2. Production Capacity: Businesses can select crushed ice makers based on their production capacity to meet their specific needs. High-volume machines ensure a continuous supply during peak hours, while smaller units may suffice for establishments with lower ice demands.
  3. Design and Integration: Professional crushed ice makers come in various designs, including undercounter models that save space and seamlessly integrate into bar areas. This flexibility allows for efficient use of space without compromising on functionality.
  4. Sustainability Features: With growing emphasis on sustainability, restaurants and bars can choose ice makers with energy-efficient operations and eco-friendly refrigerants, aligning with their environmental commitments while reducing operational costs.

Considerations for Selecting Crushed Ice Makers

Crushed ice makers are indispensable in professional settings, directly impacting service quality and offering customization options that enable businesses to cater to diverse customer preferences. By carefully selecting a machine that matches their operational demands and aesthetic requirements, restaurants and bars can elevate their service, enhance customer experiences, and streamline their operations. As technology advances, the potential for further customization and efficiency in crushed ice production promises to keep these establishments at the forefront of service excellence.

FAQs about Crushed Ice Makers

1. How does a crushed ice maker work? A crushed ice maker freezes water into ice, then uses blades or a grinding mechanism to crush the ice into smaller pieces. Some models freeze water into sheets or cubes before crushing, while others may directly produce crushed ice.

2. What are the main types of crushed ice makers? There are several types, including portable countertop models, undercounter units, freestanding machines, and commercial-grade crushed ice makers. The choice depends on your capacity needs, space availability, and intended use.

3. Can crushed ice makers produce ice in different textures? Yes, many crushed ice makers offer adjustable settings that allow you to control the texture of the ice, ranging from finely crushed to coarsely chopped, depending on the model.

4. How much ice can a crushed ice maker produce? Production varies by model. Portable units may produce around 20 to 50 pounds of ice per day, while commercial machines can produce hundreds of pounds of ice daily to meet higher demand.

5. Are crushed ice makers energy-efficient? Energy efficiency varies among models. Look for Energy Star-certified machines, which are designed to be more energy-efficient, helping to reduce operational costs and environmental impact.

6. Do crushed ice makers require a water line? Many models, especially commercial-grade and undercounter units, require a direct water line connection. However, portable countertop models often have a reservoir that needs to be filled manually.

7. How often do I need to clean my crushed ice maker? It's recommended to clean and sanitize your ice maker regularly, at least every 6 months, to prevent mineral scale buildup and maintain hygiene. Some models feature self-cleaning cycles to simplify this process.

8. What should I consider when choosing a crushed ice maker? Consider your ice production needs, available space, energy and water efficiency, ease of cleaning, noise levels, and whether you prefer a model with adjustable ice texture settings.

9. Can I install a crushed ice maker outdoors? Some crushed ice makers are designed for outdoor use, featuring weather-resistant materials and insulation. Ensure the model is specified for outdoor installation before purchasing.

10. What is the price range for crushed ice makers? Prices vary widely depending on the type, capacity, and features. Portable models may start around $100-$500, while commercial units can range from $1,000 to several thousand dollars.

11. How long do crushed ice makers typically last? With proper maintenance, a quality crushed ice maker can last many years. The lifespan varies by brand, model, and frequency of use, but investing in a reputable brand and adhering to regular cleaning can extend your machine's life.

12. Do crushed ice makers come with a warranty? Most crushed ice makers come with a manufacturer's warranty that covers parts and labor for a certain period. Always check the warranty details before making a purchase to ensure you're covered for any potential issues.


Crushed ice makers have transcended their status as a mere luxury to become a fundamental component in kitchens and businesses that prioritize the excellence of their beverages and culinary presentations. The ability to produce high-quality crushed ice on demand enhances not only the aesthetic appeal of drinks and dishes but also their taste and enjoyment. Whether for a home kitchen, a bustling restaurant, or a lively bar, the convenience and efficiency provided by a crushed ice maker significantly contribute to operational success and customer satisfaction.

Understanding the various types of crushed ice makers available, from compact, portable units to high-capacity commercial machines, allows potential buyers to match their specific needs with the right model. Key considerations such as ice production capacity, machine size, energy efficiency, and ease of maintenance play crucial roles in the decision-making process. Additionally, recognizing the importance of features like adjustable ice texture, water filtration systems, and smart connectivity can further refine one's choice to ensure it aligns with personal or business requirements.

The initial investment in a crushed ice maker is justified by the myriad benefits it offers, including the ability to rapidly cool beverages without excessive dilution, the versatility to support a wide range of culinary applications, and the potential to elevate the presentation of food and drinks. Moreover, with advancements in energy efficiency and eco-friendly refrigerant use, today's crushed ice makers also reflect a commitment to sustainability.

As technology continues to evolve, future trends in crushed ice making promise even greater efficiency, customization, and integration with smart home ecosystems. For consumers and business owners alike, staying informed about these developments will enable them to make choices that not only meet their current needs but also anticipate future trends.

In conclusion, the right crushed ice maker is a strategic investment that pays dividends in enhanced beverage and food quality, improved customer experience, and operational efficiency. Armed with the insights provided in this guide, selecting the ideal crushed ice maker becomes not just an easy decision, but a crucial step towards elevating the standard of refreshment and hospitality offered to guests and patrons.