Making ice in July usually has more to do with cubes and cones than glycol and infrared sensors.
But for the construction crews at Prudential Center, one of the hottest months of the summer season has signaled another important stage in the construction of the Devils' home rink opening this October.
Following the installation of the cooling system piping in recent weeks, Tuesday brought the pouring of the concrete that will serve as the frosty foundation for the Prudential Center ice surface.
New Jersey will play its first game at the Newark, N.J.-facility on Oct. 27 against the Ottawa Senators.
Tuesday's process began shortly after 6 a.m., and lasted over 12 hours. A fleet of 45 trucks hauled 450 cubic yards of concrete to the site, where workers used laser levels and elbow grease to smooth and distribute it evenly.
And with the surface down, the ability to start the ice-making won't be far behind.
Once the concrete is in place, the dasher system framing the playing surface will be built, and water can be applied to the surface of the floor, where it will be allowed to freeze until about ¼ - ½ inch of ice is formed. The base layer of ice will then be painted white and allowed to dry, and a thin layer of water will be spread over the paint to lock in the coloring.
After more water is laid down, the lines and logos will be added, and the process will be completed with additional layers of water until the ¾-inch NHL thickness is reached.
Believe it or not, all of the spraying, freezing, and painting necessary to create the typical NHL hockey surface can happen in less than 24 hours.
The concrete pour represents one of the final steps in the ice-making system installation that began with connecting the 61,500 feet of plastic pipes that are required to prevent the ground below the system from freezing.
The water in the plastic pipes will be warmed by heat generated by the chillers pumping a glycol/water mixture through 51,000 feet of steel pipes that will freeze the ice surface.
The glycol/water mixture will leave the chiller at 18 degrees and return at about 20 degrees to achieve ice surface temperatures ranging from 22 to 23 degrees. And just to be sure, sensors in the ice and overhead infrared beams will monitor temperature data to help ensure that the surface is among the best in the league.
When the CIMCO Refrigeration Inc.-designed system is up and running, a whopping 375 tons of refrigeration (with one ton of refrigeration equaling 12,000 BTUs) will ensure uninterrupted service to both Prudential Center's main and practice rinks.
CIMCO has led the installation of more than 4,500 ice surfaces worldwide, including NHL facilities in Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Toronto.
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