The DENSO North America Foundation has provided Dr. Trevor Elliott, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and the UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), with $50,000 in support of the UTC Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja Capstone Design project.
Baja SAE® competitions simulate real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges. Engineering students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of a competition designed by Baja alumni from various universities and professional engineers from the automotive industry.
“With the support of DENSO, we have been able to become highly competitive in the SAE Baja events, defeating well known schools and programs that have far greater resources than UTC,” said Elliott. “We truly appreciate the support of our sponsors, and our students work very hard to earn their continued support. The students take great pride in what we are able to achieve while applying their knowledge and skills in real-world challenges. Quite simply, we could not achieve at this level without DENSO.”
The objective of the competition is to provide SAE student members with a challenging project that involves the design, planning, and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market.
“The hands-on experience these students gain throughout the Baja build and competition season is invaluable,” said Hugh Cantrell, director of Administrative Services at DENSO Manufacturing Athens Tennessee. “Not only does this program help build stronger technical skills and problem solving skills, it also helps shape strong team members. It gives students practice working with others, managing priorities and budgets, kaizen (continuous improvement), and communicating effectively – everything they’ll experience in their career.”
The project spans two semesters, starting in the fall and concluding in the spring in time for the annual SAE competition. Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities. Teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm.
“The current team members are extremely eager to design and build this year’s car after gaining valuable firsthand experience at the California competition in May,” said Britton Fugatt, a senior mechanical engineering student and captain of the Baja team. “I was very proud of how well everyone worked together under stress and always kept a positive mindset. My main goal is to build a solid foundation of continuous improvement for the UTC Baja Team that will follow after us next year and many years to come.”
“We want UTC to become a revered Baja and Engineering program all of which would not be possible without the support and generosity of DENSO and our other sponsors.”
DENSO, one of the largest global automotive suppliers of advanced technology, systems, and components, has been supporting UT Chattanooga’s SAE Baja teams for over five years. This is the largest award UTC has received from the company to date.
In Athens, Tennessee, DENSO employs more than 1,300 people and produces fuel injectors, oxygen sensors, ignition coils, monolithic carriers, spark plugs and more for its North American customers.
Across North America, DENSO employs more than 23,000 people at 30 consolidated companies and affiliates. Of these, 25 are manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs more than 15,000 people in California, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Arkansas. DENSO’s North American consolidated sales totaled $9.9 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31. For more information, go to their website or connect with DENSO on Facebook.
About the DENSO North America Foundation
A registered 501(c)3 corporate foundation, the DENSO North America Foundation is dedicated to helping students advance their education in engineering, technology and other related programs. Founded in 2001, the foundation provides grants to colleges and universities throughout North America, helping our communities prosper through the development of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. The foundation also provides disaster-relief grants through the American Red Cross to aid persons and communities in which DENSO Corporation operates. For more information, click here.