DESIGN CHALLENGE: HUMIDIFIER & FLOWMETER

Dr Sujata Nagarkuti works as a Medical Officer at Nuwakot Hospital. Oxygen cylinders are a key piece of equipment, used to supply supplementary oxygen to patients with breathing problems. The set up includes a flowmeter, so medical staff know how much oxygen they are supplying to the patient, and a humidifier, which adds moisture to the air as dry air can cause heat and fluid loss, as well as damage to airways. The device is complex with many parts, and breakages and difficulties occur often. 

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

Numerous aspects of this part face difficulties:

  1. The screw fit connection between the flowmeter and metal fitting is not airtight, causing leakages and incorrect readings (see tape in video)

  2. The flowmeter sometimes breaks - the ball gets stuck at the bottom. Medical staff have to then detach the flowmeter to fix it, which will exacerbate problem (1)

  3. The screw fit connection between the fitting and the humidifier is not airtight (see tape in video)

  4. The humidifier bottle breaks

 

CAN I HELP?

This is a tough challenge and solving it will take some cunning! Designs should consider:

  • how to improve the seal between a plastic part and a metal pipe fitting

  • how to measure flowrate easily and accurately

  • suitability for adverse environments: either the design should aim to be robust, or such that parts can be replaced easily and quickly

  • manufacturing process should be 3D printing, or use a 3D print as a mould or pattern for secondary processes (such as casting)

     

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