Parts of an Oxygen Concentrator Vector

The 8+ Essential Parts of an Oxygen Concentrator (2024)

by | Updated: May 19, 2024

Oxygen concentrators are vital medical devices used to deliver enriched oxygen to individuals requiring respiratory support.

These devices efficiently extract and concentrate oxygen from ambient air, a technology that has become especially crucial in home healthcare and clinical settings.

Understanding the various components of an oxygen concentrator is key to appreciating its functionality and the technological advancements that make it a reliable source of supplemental oxygen.

This article explores the essential parts of an oxygen concentrator, detailing how each component contributes to the device’s overall operation.

What is an Oxygen Concentrator?

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that extracts oxygen from ambient air and delivers it to patients in concentrated form. It is commonly used for oxygen therapy at home or in hospitals, especially for individuals with respiratory issues who require higher oxygen levels than are present in normal air.

Parts of an Oxygen Concentrator Labeled Illustration

Part of an Oxygen Concentrator

An oxygen concentrator consists of several components that work together to deliver concentrated oxygen to the user.

Here are the key parts of an oxygen concentrator:

  • Compressor: This component compresses air that is filtered into the concentrator, raising the air pressure and facilitating the separation of oxygen from other gases.
  • Sieve Bed Filter: The compressed air is then passed through a sieve bed filter. This filter contains a material called zeolite, which selectively absorbs nitrogen from the air. The process results in the production of a more concentrated flow of oxygen.
  • Product Tank: The concentrated oxygen is then moved to a product tank where it is stored until required for delivery to the patient.
  • Pressure Valve: This regulates the flow of oxygen to maintain a consistent output pressure, ensuring the patient receives the appropriate amount of oxygen.
  • Flowmeter: The flowmeter is an important component that allows healthcare providers or patients to adjust the flow rate of oxygen being delivered based on the patient’s requirements.
  • Cannula or Mask: This is the delivery interface that connects to the oxygen concentrator. A nasal cannula or an oxygen mask is used to deliver the concentrated oxygen directly to the patient’s respiratory system.
  • Electronic User Interface: Modern oxygen concentrators include an electronic interface that allows users to control settings such as flow rate and concentration levels. Some also include alarms to indicate issues such as low oxygen output, power failure, or system malfunctions.
  • Filters and Humidifiers: Additional filters remove impurities and humidity from the ambient air before it is processed. Some models also include a humidifier to add moisture to the dry oxygen being delivered, making it more comfortable to breathe.

Note: Each part of an oxygen concentrator plays a crucial role in ensuring that it efficiently and safely delivers oxygen to those in need.

How Does an Oxygen Concentrator Work?

An oxygen concentrator is designed to provide users with enriched oxygen from the surrounding air. It offers an efficient and reliable source of medical-grade oxygen, particularly useful for patients who require respiratory support.

Here’s a basic rundown of how an oxygen concentrator works:

  • Air Intake: The oxygen concentrator starts by pulling in ambient air from the environment.
  • Compression: The air is compressed with a built-in compressor. The compression raises the air pressure and also heats the air.
  • Air Filtration: After compression, the air passes through a series of filters to remove impurities, including dust, bacteria, and other particles.
  • Nitrogen Removal: The filtered air then moves into a sieve bed filter. This filter contains a material called zeolite, a molecular sieve that selectively absorbs nitrogen from the air. Since ambient air is primarily made up of nitrogen (approximately 78%) and oxygen (about 21%), removing nitrogen significantly increases the concentration of oxygen.
  • Oxygen Delivery: The concentrated oxygen (which is now about 90-95% pure) is then delivered to the patient via a mask or nasal cannula. The remaining nitrogen and other gases are vented back into the air.
  • Cycle Refresh: Most concentrators have two sieve beds. While one is absorbing nitrogen, the other is regenerating by releasing the absorbed nitrogen back into the air. This cycle allows the concentrator to provide a continuous flow of oxygen.

Note: Oxygen concentrators can deliver oxygen in either continuous flow or pulse-dose modes. Continuous flow provides a steady stream of oxygen, while pulse-dose models deliver oxygen only when the patient inhales, making them more efficient and energy-saving.

Where to Buy Replacement Parts for an Oxygen Concentrator

When looking to buy replacement parts for an oxygen concentrator, you have several options. It’s important to ensure you are purchasing high-quality, compatible parts for your specific model of oxygen concentrator.

Here are some common avenues where you can find these parts:

  • Manufacturer’s Website: This is often the safest option for purchasing replacement parts. Manufacturers will provide parts that are specifically designed for their models, ensuring compatibility and reliability.
  • Medical Supply Stores: Both online and brick-and-mortar medical supply stores often carry a wide range of replacement parts for oxygen concentrators, including filters, batteries, power supplies, and tubing.
  • Online Marketplaces: Websites like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba can be good sources for replacement parts. However, when purchasing from these sites, it’s crucial to check the seller’s ratings and reviews to ensure you are getting genuine, high-quality parts.
  • Specialty Online Retailers: There are online stores that specialize in oxygen therapy equipment, including DirectHomeMedical, Oxygen Concentrator Store, and Vitality Medical. These retailers often offer a broad selection of parts and accessories specifically for oxygen concentrators.
  • Local Durable Medical Equipment Providers: Many communities have local providers of durable medical equipment (DME) who can supply replacement parts and even offer services for maintenance and repair.

Note: Before purchasing, make sure to check that the parts are compatible with your model of oxygen concentrator. Be aware that using unofficial parts might void any existing warranty on your device. If unsure, consult with a healthcare provider or a professional from a medical supply store to get the right parts and instructions for replacing them.

FAQs About the Parts of an Oxygen Concentrator

What is the Internal Structure of an Oxygen Concentrator?

The internal structure of an oxygen concentrator includes several key components that work together to concentrate and deliver oxygen. These components are the compressor, sieve bed filters, product tank, and various valves and sensors.

The compressor draws in ambient air and compresses it, which is then directed through the sieve beds. These beds contain a material called zeolite that absorbs nitrogen, allowing oxygen-enriched air to pass through.

The concentrated oxygen is then stored in the product tank until it is delivered through the output valve.

What’s Inside an Oxygen Concentrator?

Inside an oxygen concentrator, you’ll find a series of components designed to filter and purify air. The primary components include a compressor, two sieve bed filters, a cooling system, and various electronic controls.

The compressor is crucial for pressurizing air, while the sieve beds are filled with zeolite crystals that selectively remove nitrogen. Additionally, there are filters to cleanse incoming air and electronic sensors to monitor oxygen purity and system performance.

What are the Components of an Oxygen Concentrator?

The components of an oxygen concentrator include:

  • Compressor: Compresses the ambient air to increase pressure.
  • Sieve Bed Filters: Contain zeolite that absorbs nitrogen and allows oxygen to pass through.
  • Product Tank: Stores the concentrated oxygen until needed.
  • Pressure Valve: Regulates the pressure of oxygen delivered.
  • Flowmeter: Allows adjustment of the oxygen flow rate.
  • Cannula/Mask: Delivers oxygen to the patient.
  • Electronic User Interface: Controls settings and displays system status.
  • Humidifier (optional): Adds moisture to the dry oxygen output.
  • Filters: Remove impurities from the air before processing.

What are the Accessories for an Oxygen Concentrator?

Accessories for an oxygen concentrator enhance the functionality and usability of the device. Common accessories include:

  • Nasal Cannula: A lightweight tube that delivers oxygen directly to the user’s nostrils.
  • Oxygen Masks: Used for higher concentrations of oxygen, covering both the nose and mouth.
  • Humidifier Bottle: Adds moisture to the oxygen, preventing dryness in the nasal passages and throat.
  • Carrying Cases: Facilitate easy transport of portable oxygen concentrators.
  • Power Supplies and Adapters: Ensure the concentrator can be used in different settings, including car adapters for charging on the go.
  • Battery Packs: For portable models, allowing for use without direct power supply.
  • Replacement Filters: To maintain air quality and proper functioning of the concentrator.

What are the Different Parts of the Oxygen Cylinder?

An oxygen cylinder, different from an oxygen concentrator, is a tank containing pressurized oxygen gas. Its main parts include:

  • Cylinder Body: The main storage container for the oxygen.
  • Valve: Regulates the release of oxygen from the tank.
  • Pressure Regulator: Adjusts the pressure at which oxygen is delivered.
  • Flowmeter: Measures and controls the rate at which oxygen is released.
  • Oxygen Tubing: Connects the cylinder to the delivery device.
  • Stand or Cart: Provides support and mobility for the cylinder.
  • Gauge: Displays the current pressure and oxygen level inside the cylinder.

Does an Oxygen Concentrator Produce Pure Oxygen?

No, an oxygen concentrator does not produce pure oxygen; instead, it delivers oxygen-enriched air. The typical output of an oxygen concentrator ranges from 90% to 95% oxygen purity, which is sufficient for most medical and therapeutic needs.

The concentrator works by filtering out nitrogen and other gases from the air, concentrating the oxygen. While not 100% pure, the concentrated oxygen meets medical standards for supplemental oxygen therapy.

Final Thoughts

Each part of an oxygen concentrator plays an integral role in its operation, ensuring that patients receive high-quality, concentrated oxygen.

From the intake of ambient air to the delivery of oxygen through a nasal cannula or mask, the components work synergistically to provide vital respiratory support.

Recognizing the function and importance of each part helps users and healthcare providers better manage and maintain the device, ensuring optimal performance and safety.

As technology advances, understanding these components becomes even more crucial in enhancing the effectiveness and reliability of oxygen concentrators in various medical and emergency contexts.

John Landry, BS, RRT

Written by:

John Landry, BS, RRT

John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.