The final part of the journey, from auger to ice bin, varies from machine to machine.
In most Sonic ice makers, the flakes are gathered and forced through a compression tube where they come out as nuggets. They break apart naturally, due to gravity.
In other units, a blade cuts the nuggets as they are extruded from the tube. This produces more uniformly shaped pellets.
In more expensive models, a little more finesses is done, before the ice is released.
First, they may compress the nuggets extra had, to get rid of excess water.
Compressed ice nuggets are firmer and slightly harder than Sonic nuggets. They are not as crunchy though they are not as hard as traditional ice cubes.
Compressed nuggets are ideal if you want Sonic ice that lasts longer in your drink. They are especially good for outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes.
In the video below, a compressed sonic ice maker is illustrated to show how nugget ice is made. The rotating object is the auger, which scrapes ice flakes from the wall and pushes them upwards.