Freedom Photo

Bimba Helps Keep Total Artificial
Hearts Beating

Each year, 300,000 people die of heart failure. For transplant-eligible patients suffering from end-stage biventricular failure, there are only two options for survival: an immediate donor heart transplant or a Total Artificial Heart as a bridge-to-transplant. Recently, SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the world's only FDA-approved Total Artificial Heart, contracted with Bimba to help on its newest project.

Bimba was contracted to assist in the development of the lightweight Freedom™* discharge driver, designed to power the SynCardia temporary CardioWest™ Total Artificial Heart outside the hospital. "We searched for the right subcontractors for each of the components," said Rodger Ford, SynCardia President and CEO. “We wanted our vendors to understand our passion and we wanted them to be the very best in the business of what they do."

The Freedom discharge driver is designed to allow stable Total Artificial Heart patients to leave the hospital to wait for a heart transplant. Using a shoulder bag or backpack for transport, the Freedom driver is designed to allow patients to conduct their daily activities outside the hospital while waiting for a matching donor heart for transplant.

On Nov. 5, 2009, SynCardia submitted an application to the FDA to conduct an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study of the Freedom driver. SynCardia also submitted the design dossier for the Freedom driver to the British Standards Institute (BSI), SynCardia's Notified Body for the CE Mark for approval in Europe.

Despite growing demand, for the last 20 years, the supply of donor hearts has remained flat, with an average of only 2,200 heart transplants performed in the United States each year. Ford believes that about 12,500 patients per year could benefit from the use of the Total Artificial Heart.

SynCardia is another example of why companies on the move choose Bimba as their trusted vendor for motion control.

*CAUTION: The Freedom™ discharge driver is an investigational device, limited by United States and EU law to investigational use.

Before and After

Bimba in Chicago: John G. Shedd Aquarium

The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois recently underwent a complete, year-long Oceanarium overhaul and upgrade project that included the renovation of its15-year-old oceanic exhibit. The exhibit consists of five pools, separated by gates. Over time, the rotary vane actuators used to open these gates began to rust and corrode beyond recognition. The Shedd Aquarium needed a manufacturer that could match the functionality of the original actuator, meet an aggressive four-month timeline and stay within budget—Bimba Manufacturing was up for the challenge.

To uncover the actuator components, Bimba's team of design engineers visited the aquarium on several occasions, documenting and studying the actuators. The Shedd Aquarium considered repairing the originals because the actuators were difficult to access and could only be handled using heavy lifting equipment. However, after review, Bimba determined that the actuators were too damaged and began work immediately on a solution.

The Shedd Aquarium sent one of the old actuators to Bimba to ensure that all special features and components were considered in the new design. Bimba discovered that the large custom mounting brackets were still in good condition, but the cylinders needed replacing.

Bimba engineered a design featuring a more corrosion resistant 316 stainless steel to deliver the same fit, form and function as the existing actuators, but with a longer life. The new rotary actuators are more aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly, more reliable. In the end, the Bimba solution was created, delivered and installed in time for the highly successful grand opening of the Shedd Aquarium's newly refurbished Oceanarium Exhibit.