How Does a Portable Oxygen Concentrator Work

Breathing is such a natural part of our lives that we often take it for granted, not giving much thought to it unless we’re experiencing problems. For people who need oxygen therapy – an indispensable remedy for various respiratory conditions – taking a deep breath can be quite challenging. That’s where we come in.

At Oxygen West, we are dedicated to helping you breathe more easily and lead a more independent lifestyle. One way we do that is by providing Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs), innovative devices designed to improve your quality of life.

But first, what is a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?


How Does a Portable Oxygen Concentrator Work


Portable Oxygen Concentrators, or POCs for short, revolutionised the world of oxygen therapy by offering users a convenient, lightweight, and highly mobile option that allows them to maintain their active lifestyle. Gone are the days when being tethered to bulky oxygen tanks was the only option for those in need. POCs are discreet, easy to use, and designed to meet your specific needs.

Now that you have a basic understanding of POCs and their role in oxygen therapy, it’s time to explore the inner workings of these devices. By gaining insight into how POCs function, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for the technology that enables you to breathe easier and live a more fulfilling life.


The Working Mechanism of POCs

POCs involve an intricate series of steps, each contributing to the provision of concentrated oxygen. While the mechanisms may seem complicated, understanding them is less about technical mastery and more about grasping the ingenious simplicity of the design.


A. Step-by-step Breakdown of How a POC Operates

POCs work like mini miracles on the go, transforming ambient air into a stream of concentrated oxygen. This transition doesn’t happen in one fell swoop, but rather through a carefully synchronised series of operations.


Air Intake and Filtration

The initial phase of the POC operation involves pulling in ambient air. Most importantly, this isn’t just any air, but the concoction we breathe daily, composed of approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, and 1% other gases. The machine then filters this air to remove dust, bacteria, and other airborne particles.


Compression of Air

Following filtration, the POC applies pressure to the gathered air. This compression serves a dual purpose: it readies the air for the next stage of the process and helps ensure the consistent delivery of oxygen.


Removal of Nitrogen

Here’s where things start to get interesting. In the compressed air, the nitrogen and oxygen are still intermingled. POCs utilise a unique sieve bed technology, typically featuring molecular sieve material, to selectively absorb the nitrogen molecules, allowing the oxygen to pass through. This separation process happens in real-time and is the heart of how POCs generate high-purity oxygen.


Delivery of Concentrated Oxygen

Now that the nitrogen has been effectively removed, what remains is highly concentrated oxygen. The POC’s sophisticated delivery system ensures that this pure oxygen is delivered at the prescribed flow rate to the user through a comfortable nasal cannula or mask. This means that individuals relying on oxygen therapy receive a consistent and reliable supply of oxygen wherever they go, ensuring their well-being and freedom of mobility.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator FreeStyle Comfort


B. Details about the Sieve Bed/Membrane Technology

To elevate your understanding of the science behind POCs, let’s take a closer look at the technology that enables the selective removal of nitrogen from the mix: the sieve bed or membrane technology. This is the heart of your POC, where the air is processed, and the usable oxygen is separated.


Adsorption and Desorption of Nitrogen

Adsorption is the initial step, where the compressed air containing a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen is introduced into the sieve bed. The sieve material, often composed of zeolite or other adsorbents, has a high affinity for nitrogen molecules. As the air passes through, the nitrogen molecules are selectively trapped within the sieve material’s microscopic pores, leaving behind the oxygen.

Now, here’s where the real magic happens – desorption. The sieve bed doesn’t hold onto the nitrogen indefinitely. Instead, it undergoes a cyclic process. After a set period, the POC switches to a different sieve bed while the saturated one goes through a regeneration phase. During this regeneration, the sieve bed is depressurized, releasing the trapped nitrogen molecules, and preparing the bed to start the adsorption process anew. This continuous cycling between adsorption and desorption ensures a steady supply of concentrated oxygen for the user.


Cycling of Sieve Beds for Continuous Oxygen Production

To ensure a steady supply of concentrated oxygen, POCs employ a clever strategy using multiple sieve beds. As one sieve bed undergoes the adsorption phase, another simultaneously undergoes the desorption phase. This continuous cycling of sieve beds guarantees that the POC never runs out of oxygen to deliver to the user. This material’s efficiency and ability to regenerate are what makes sieve beds so critical to the functioning of POCs.

By combining these innovative processes, POCs can ensure that people with respiratory difficulties have a reliable, efficient, and easily transportable source of oxygen, facilitating independence and improved quality of life.

CAIRE Sequal Eclipse 5 Oxygen Concentrator

Breathe Freely and Live Fully with Oxygen West!

Don’t let respiratory challenges limit your life. Choose Oxygen West, your trusted partner for all your oxygen therapy needs. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to help you find the perfect portable oxygen concentrator to suit your lifestyle and needs. We pride ourselves on delivering industry-leading equipment and exceptional customer service, so you can breathe easy, no matter where life takes you.

Take a step towards independence and experience the freedom you deserve! Contact us now, and let’s embark on a journey to a better, healthier future together.

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