Macha Oxygen Concentrator Project

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A Devilbiss 515 Concentrator - minus case


The Macha Mission Hospital in Zambia sees many patients each year with breathing problems, primarily due to tuberculosis stemming from HIV/AIDS infection. Patients often require supplemental oxygen, which can be administered via oxygen concentrating machines. Oxygen concentrators take ambient air and separate out oxygen in the air by removing nitrogen. These machines and replacement parts are readily available in the U.S. at relatively low cost, but much more expencive in Macha due to shipping and logistics. Oxygen concentrators employed at Macha Hospital typically have short life spans due to heavy use and environmental conditions such as dust and humidity. Our client at Macha Hospital wishes for us to come up with a solution to increase the lifespan of these devices with a minimal increase in cost and maintenance.

Purpose statement

To design and construct a solution that will increase the lifespan of oxygen concentrators used in Macha to provide the patients with the supplemental oxygen necessary for optimum medical treatment.


Specifications: Any modified or newly constructed oxygen concentrators will:

  1. Function within WHO specifications for range of % oxygen concentrations and flow rate.
  2. Function within specification under conditions found at Macha Hospital with minimal maintenance.
  3. Be cost-effective, being less expensive than replacing or repairing the conentrators as a whole.
  4. Come with a manual detailing the function of each part, plus instructions for testing each part for functionality and for part repair.
  5. Increase the lifespan of the to acceptable service levels.


  • Fall 2010 - Project approved by the Collaboratory Operations Committee, Executive Committee, and Leaders' Committee
  • Summer 2011 - Successful site team trip to determine failure modes of the concentrators and teach the hospital workers how to diagnose and repair the concentrators.
  • Summer 2013 - Successful site team trip to implement a new filter design for the concentrators, assess the status of the existing concentrators on site, and provide the staff with more technical training.
Steven Bandstra and George Mono, May 2013


Previous Members


11-12 Project Planning Article

Troubleshooting Guide Cover

Troubleshooting Guide (Pg 1-6)

Troubleshooting Guide (Pg 7-12)


Project Proposal

Project Budget

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