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puritan bennett 
companion 590 oxygen concentrator
written august 2001 (updated 8/2003)

How does the oxygen concentrator work? What's the magic?

Atmospheric air consists of approximately 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. An oxygen concentrator uses ambient air as a source of oxygen by separating these two components. It utilizes the property of zeolite granules to selectively absorb nitrogen from compressed air.  Atmospheric air is entrained by the concentrator, filtered and raised to a pressure of 20 pounds per square.  

The compressed air is then introduced into one of the canisters containing zeolite granules where nitrogen is selectively absorbed leaving the residual oxygen available for a medical patient. After about 20 seconds, the supply of compressed air is automatically diverted to the second canister where the process is repeated, enabling the output of oxygen to continue uninterrupted. While the pressure in the second canister is at 20 P.S.I., the pressure in the first canister is reduced to zero. This allows nitrogen to be released from the zeolite and returned into the atmosphere. The zeolite is then regenerated and ready for the next cycle. By alternating the pressure in the two canisters so that first one and then the other is at 20 P.S.I., a constant supply of oxygen is produced as the zeolite is continually being regenerated. Individual units have an output of up to five liters per minute (5LPM) with an oxygen concentration of up to 95%.

For more information on oxygen concentrators, visit this link: 
http://www.nda.ox.ac.uk/wfsa/html/u01/u01_009.htm

This article was written by an English doctor.  If you buy this concentrator new, it would cost approximately $2000.  

The Puritan Bennett Companion 590 Oxygen Concentrator on a Minor
Please note: to see a closer view of any photo, just double click over the image.  Click your back arrow on your browser to return to this FAQ.

 1.  Puritan Bennett Companion 590 - This is how the unit looks.  It is on wheels and easy to roll around.  

2.  Concentrator Front Panel - a closeup photo of the front power on button and the adjustable knob for amount of lpm (liters per minute - 5LPM is roughly 6PSI).  I operate around 4 lpm and it is sufficient for me.  You may want to crank it up to 5, but I like machines to last long, so I donít recommend running any machinery at maximum.  You can also see the possible warning lights that would light on.

3.  Concentrator Connector - The connector without any hose connected.  It is a standard "B" type fitting. 

 4.  Concentrator Connector with Oxygen Hose - direct connection.  To have a tight fit, you can use Teflon tape around the perimeter of the B fitting on the concentrator.  This can be found in any major hardware store (usually near the pipes).  It is white/cream in color.  If you have a flashback arrestor already, you can add it in between but it is NOT necessary.

 5.  Concentrator Connector with Y valve - Flashback arrestor and Y value with knobs allowing more than one torch to be connected.  (The flashback arrestor is NOT needed but I had this setup for my oxygen tank and didnít have time to disassemble it for the photo.  This is just an example) I also have a Little Smith's jeweler's torch connected to my concentrator.  

 6.  Computer Compressed Air  - For maintenance, just blow out any dust you see near the filters.  I would just eyeball the concentrator after each use in the beginning until you get a feel for how bad the dust is in your area.  A machine will only last as long as you take care of it!!

 7.  Concentrator Filters_01 - A photo of the filtration area where normal atmospheric air (80% nitrogen/20%oxygen) goes into the concentrator to make 94-95% pure oxygen for lampworking.  The left is where the air goes into.  The user accessible control panel is where another set of filters need to be cleaned periodically.

 8.  Concentrator Filters_02 - Internal filters and the hour usage meter.  

 9.  Concentrator Filters_03 - THE BRAIN - this is where the atmospheric air goes in and into some zeolite chambers and creates oxygen for our torch.  See the velcro and the fact that you just need to make sure it is free of dust so air can go into the chamber of the concentrator?  You can get replacement pads for as low as 0.70 cents from the link I provided in the beginning of this FAQ.

 

 10.  Concentrator Hour Usage Meter - this is how you tell how many hours your concentrator has been used.  As you can see, mine is under 4500 hours.  Remember low mileage will generally mean it'll last longer if you take care of it! An oxygen concentrator will last well into the 40,000 hour + range if you take care of it.  Treat it with care by cleaning the filters periodically or changing them as needed.

The 1-2-3s of Using Your Companion 590

Here is what you do after you connect your concentrator to the Minor and are ready to GO!  This concentrator will also work well for the Lynx which is a more expensive torch on my wish list!! To melt boro on the Lynx, you may want to consider two concentrators connected in parallel.   If you also have a Little Smith's jeweler's torch like me, you can also adapt these instructions to it when using a Y connector.

 1.  Plug the concentrator into power outlet.  Since I work in my garage, I face my concentrator towards an open door so I can get plenty of air. (Don't mistake air for oxygen!)

2.  Open the oxygen valve on your Minor.  Yes we are violating the POOP rule (POOP = Propane Oxygen (on) Oxygen Propane (off)) but this is how you ensure the air you are pulling into the concentrator and the oxygen being generated has a place to go first.

3.  Wait about 3-4 minutes so that your oxygen goes to about 90% (my machine seems fast but you may adjust your time to 5-7 minutes.  This is all due to machine model too, so the duration is not set in stone.  To be safe in the beginning, use 5 minutes, until you get familiar with your machine.)  

4.  I put my hand over the torch head just to feel the cool oxygen coming out.  You will notice that during this time, more oxygen will be outputted.

5.  Next turn your oxygen valve on your Minor ALL the way OFF.  No need to touch the concentrator yet.

6.  Turn your propane valve on your Propane tank all the way open to max.  You don't want to turn it half way open or you'll notice you get "spurts" of flames.  How do I know? ;o)

7.  Now sit in front of your work area and light your torch as you normally would.  Open the torch's propane valve. Ignite with striker.  Adjust the flame to a workable size and slowly add oxygen by turning the torch's oxygen valve.

8.  You may want to adjust the liters per minute knob on the concentrator at this point to suit your personal working flame.  I use 4 lpm and it works fine.   You will notice that the lpm gauge will go up and down as you add or lower your oxygen output on your torch.  This is quite NORMAL so don't freak out!!

9.  When you are done, turn off the oxygen valve first and then the propane valve on the torch.  Then turn off the propane tank valve and flick the off switch on the concentrator. 

10.  Lastly, bleed all the excess oxygen and propane from hoses by turning each of the torches valve on.  Then don't forget to shut both valves off afterwards for your next session.

Have fun torching and I hope this FAQ helped you understand the wonders of your concentrator!  If you have any questions, just email me
Lisa

 

 

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Last modified:
September 20, 2011