DENSO funds engineering capstone design lab at TTU

Thanks to the DENSO North America Foundation, Tennessee Tech University electrical and computer engineering seniors (60 each year) will get a taste of what it is like to work in an environment with the look and feel of a typical engineering lab found in industry.

DENSO Corporation is a leading global supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components. The company has a large Tennessee presence serving the major automakers, including Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler.

Jim Woroniecki, senior vice president of DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee Inc. Maryville and a DNAF board member, presented TTU with a $100,000 check representing a grant that will be made in two installments to create the DENSO Capstone Design Laboratory in Brown Hall, Room 408.   This lab will enable TTU to provide every ECE graduate with a year-long design experience under the supervision of both an industry engineer and an ECE faculty member.

"We are engaging in a renewed and reinvigorated effort to dramatically improve the quality of our curriculum, laboratories, industry interaction and especially our product -- talented, well-trained electrical and computer engineering graduates," said Stephen Parke, TTU's ECE chairperson. "This DENSO lab renovation is the first in a series of planned industry-sponsored teaching and research lab facility upgrades extending through the year 2020 that is called "The ECE 20/20 Vision."

DENSO's relationship with TTU has greatly benefited the e ngineering program s over the past seven years by helping create new laboratories designed to educate students in the disciplines essential to the automo tive industry. A DENSO grant also supported t he DENSO Vehicle Engineering Center housing large student design projects, the Mini Baja and Formula One projects, both proven to help engineering students obtain advanced skills before they graduate.

"DENSO's relationship with TTU has always been strong," Woroniecki said. "We want to continue that alliance in helping support TTU's great engineering programs. Good engineers are valuable to our company and to the automotive industry."

TTU will launch the senior capstone course this fall, with 12 five-student teams completing a year-long industry-defined design project, including brainstorming, specification, simulation, design review, construction, testing, documentation, and demonstration.   Some of this year's project sponsors are ADTRAN, DENSO, Oreck, P&G, REI, Square-D, TVA, and Cookeville Electric.   Other area companies are encouraged to contact TTU ECE if they are interested in submitting future projects.

The lab upgrade will include a suspended tile ceiling and new lighting and HVAC for noise reduction and improved working conditions. The new lab will accommodate 12 modern design stations and a conferencing area.

Each student team will uniquely configure their design station according to their project's needs. All stations will have an electronics workbench, a CAD PC, and extensive prototyping and test equipment.

"Our vision is to be a vibrant, nationally recognized ECE program while continuing to provide the friendly, nurturing atmosphere that has endeared this special place to our alumni," said Parke.

The DENSO North America Foundation, the first charitable foundation to be established by a Japan-based automotive parts supplier in North America, provides grants to higher education institutions for educational and/or scientific purposes, with an emphasis on engineering and technology. The foundation is funded entirely by DENSO's North American headquarters, DENSO International America, both located in Southfield, Mich. For more information about the foundation, go to www.densofoundation.org.

DENSO Corporation, headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, employs approximately 112,000 people in 32 countries and regions, including Japan. See www.globaldenso.com or visit the media website at www.densomediacenter.com.

In the Americas, DENSO employs more than 17,000 people at 38 companies. For more information, go to www.densomedia-na.com.

DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee Inc., one of the largest manufacturing operations globally for DENSO Corporation, employs nearly 3,000 and produces starters, alternator, instrument clusters, center displays and an array of electronic products.

The Maryville operation is currently building a major expansion to produce additional electronic products in a new 210,000 square-foot building. The $185 million expansion will add several hundred more jobs.   Production is scheduled to begin by 2008. Visit www.densotn.jobs for hiring details.

DENSO has a second manufacturing operation in Tennessee, DENSO Manufacturing Athens Tennessee, where approximately 1,000 are employed. Products include fuel injectors, oxygen sensors, air-flow meters, ignition coils and spark plugs.

For more information on DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee or DENSO Manufacturing Athens Tennessee, go to links on www.densocorp-na.com .