HOUGHTON — The Denso North America Foundation has given Michigan Technological University $25,000 to remodel and expand engine lab space in the Advanced Technology Development Complex, in the southwest corner of Michigan Tech’s Houghton campus.
The grant allows three of Michigan Tech’s Advanced Motorsports Enterprise teams to work together for the first time. The funding enables the Formula SAE, Supermileage Systems and Clean Snowmobile teams to share the remodeled space. In the new DENSO Undergraduate Dynamometer Facility, low walls now divide the lab into three work areas, so all three teams can use the equipment at the same time.
“It’s really nice to have a place where people with the same interests and the same goal — getting an engine tuned — can work together in a well-equipped environment,” said Steve Wenzel, a fourth year mechanical engineering major and a member of the Formula team.
The Clean Snowmobile Enterprise team used to have to do their engine development work outside. Freezing temperatures made using dynamometers virtually impossible, because they use water.
The Formula Enterprise formerly used the minerals and materials engineering building, but were always facing safety and exhaust challenges.
“We’ve had a longstanding partnership with Denso,” said Rick Berkey, sponsored projects manager for Michigan Tech’s Enterprise and Senior Design programs. “They really like the hands-on, multidisciplinary automotive education we provide in the Advanced Motorsports Enterprise.”
“The best learning experiences are when things don’t work how you expected them to work, or how the text book explained,” said Doug Patton, president of the Denso North America Foundation and senior vice president of engineering at Denso International America Inc. “The best way to learn is to get your hands on a product, use real tools, put something together and test it. We want to create these hands-on opportunities for students because we need them — our future depends on innovative engineers and professionals to continuously develop and improve technologies that will help society.”
Since 2001, Michigan Tech has received $521,000 in grants from Denso. The manufacturer of corrosion prevention and sealing technologies supported the establishment of the Denso Student Design Center at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center.
Michigan Tech’s Enterprise program is made up of student-driven, multidisciplinary teams that work like companies on real-world projects for a wide variety of clients. Deliverables may include products or services. Many teams design, manufacture and test their own prototypes. Teams collaborate with clients from industry, communities and government organizations, and work closely with a faculty advisor. More at www.mtu.edu/enterprise/about/facts/.