Innovation Drives Sustainability Success at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee Plant

Innovation is at the core of virtually every initiative at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc. This includes a host of activities designed to allow the leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components, to realize its corporate vision of creating a sustainable automotive society.

Among key initiatives at DENSO’s Maryville, Tennessee, facility is the use of an innovative ice-storage system engineered to provide environmentally friendly comfort cooling to employees at the company’s main production facility. The system also allows Plant 101 to reduce cooling costs per ton by 44%, while providing a payback of less than four years. It also resulted in an annual carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction of 18,000 tons.


Taking a Lead in Environmental Sustainability with Eco Vision 2025

The Maryville facility began operation in 1988. It encompasses 2.6 million-square-feet under roof for the entire campus and its 230-acre campus is comprised of four major facilities and 13 buildings. Plant 101 – the main production facility where the ice-storage system is in operation – spans 708,575 square-feet. It is the largest production plant on the Maryville, Tennessee, campus. In addition to Maryville, DENSO operates a production facility in nearby Athens, Tennessee.

Denso Aerial

DMTN’s 230-acre campus in Maryville, Tennessee.

The DENSO Maryville operation produces starters, alternators, and instrument clusters, as well as various automotive electronic products and inverters for hybrid vehicles. The plant operates three shifts, seven days per week. In all, the plant employs more than 4,300 individuals and is ISO 14001, ISO/TS 16949, and QS 9000 certified.

Mike Wingo, a Section Leader who manages the Environmental Engineering Department at DENSO Maryville, said DENSO’s corporate program, Eco Vision 2025, drives DENSO’s commitment to sustainability. The impetus for this program was to decrease energy usage and CO2 generation. Wingo said the sustainability goals, as well as a desire to decrease energy costs and ongoing improvements in operational costs, led to the decision to upgrade Plant 101’s comfort cooling system, which was originally comprised of 21 direct expansion (DX) air-handling units.

“A number of factors went into the decision to improve comfort cooling at the plant as the operation and the cooling loads continued to grow, not the least of which is the continued opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and energy consumption,” Wingo said.  

DENSO created Eco Vision in 1997, which is an action plan to help spark and invigorate a renewed awareness for environmental responsibility. The initiative also provides DENSO facilities with a blueprint to achieve a wide range of sustainability goals through various means, such as non-traditional methods and technologies designed to improve energy efficiency and waste reduction efforts.


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