Denso completes gift, helps TTU students pursue excellence in dream engineering facility

Two years ago, Tennessee Tech University engineering students accepted the first installment of a $120,000 donation from DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee and the DENSO North America Foundation and began clearing the dust in their East Stadium space with a dream of developing a world-class vehicle engineering center.

Recently, DENSO representatives delivered the final installment and toured the now well-equipped DENSO Vehicle Engineering Center where student design teams build rugged Mini Baja vehicles and smooth and fast Formula SAE cars.

“DENSO stepped up to meet our needs in every way," said Dale Wilson, TTU mechanical engineering professor. "This facility gives us an edge on other programs and offers our very successful and talented students the type of facility they deserve."
To date, about $20,000 was used for structural modifications to the East Stadium space including lighting, ventilation and updated circuitry. More than $50,000 purchased equipment, including a tube bender, welders, an air compressor, a chassis dynometer system, mill, lathe, band saw and safety equipment. About $6,000 went toward materials and hand tools.

Mini Baja is a design competition that challenges engineering students to work as a team in the designing, building and testing of an off-road vehicle that is capable of negotiating rough terrain. Tennessee Tech ranks as one of the most successful Mini Baja teams in history with two Dayton Cup Championships for best team and 23 Top Five finishes, including 10 1st Place finishes, against some of the best engineering schools around the world.

The Formula SAE competition requires students to design and build a scale version of a Formula One race car. More than 130 universities and colleges, plus major automobile manufacturers, participate in the annual event.

DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee produces a wide array of advanced technology, components and systems with locations in Maryville and Athens, making it one of East Tennessee’s largest employers. DENSO is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components to all the world’s major carmakers, including DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Toyota, Honda, General Motors and Mitsubishi.

DENSO North America Foundation, which began operations in January 2001, was the first corporate foundation established by a Japan-based automotive component supplier in North America.