On Sunday, May 4, a tornado hit TBDN Tennessee Co., a plant in Jackson, Tenn., that is 49 percent owned by Denso International America and 51 percent owned by Toyoda Boshoku Corp., a subsidiary of Toyoda Industries Corp.
The tornado ripped a 100-hundred foot hole in the plant's roof, damaging about one-third of the roof and allowing rain to flood the shipping area and several machines.
When the tornado hit at about 11:40 p.m., the company's third shift of about 75 employees had just reported to work. They incurred no injuries, said Denso spokeswoman Marlene Goldsmith.
TBDN produces air, oil and fuel filters for all the major automakers and for Denso plants including Battle Creek, Mich.
Twenty-five percent of the plant's machines were back online within 24 hours of the tornado, 60 percent within 48 hours and 100 percent by Friday. The lull in operation did not affect customers, Goldsmith said.
"We're a Japanese company with just-in-time delivery, but we had lot of stock in the warehouse, so we were able to ship the next day and meet all our customer demands," she said.
The tornado knocked offline the electrical substation that sources the plant. Power had not been restored to the plant by late Friday, so it still was running on the three generators that were put into place shortly after the tornado. Electrical power may not be returned until as late as May 20, Goldsmith said.
Repairs are being made to the plant's roof, but the project is not expected to be completed until the end of this month because of material availability, she said. She declined to disclose a cost estimate for repairs.
"Water leaks have been contained and the shipping area has been walled off to keep out water," Goldsmith said.
The Denso North America Foundation planned to give an undetermined amount of money to the American Red Cross on Monday, May 12, to help the Jackson community, including 58 of TBDN's 435 employees whose homes were damaged. At least 10 of those homes are unlivable, so Denso put up their families in hotels.
Goldsmith said no employees nor their families were injured.