Driving Innovation with Digital Twin Technology

Penn State New Kensington is working to create a model to help small Rustbelt communities thrive and compete in the digital age while encouraging economic revitalization and development. In keeping with its commitment to local and regional economic development, Penn State New Kensington wanted to

  • understand the changes and opportunities Industry 4.0 (I4.0) would bring to their organization,
  • define a niche within I4.0 that would best match the organization’s skillset with industry ecosystem needs,
  • identify a business model that would support its digital innovation project, and
  • determine how I4.0 could catalyze regional growth.

The University envisioned a digital innovation lab that would catalyze regional transformation and position manufacturers for I4.0. The new lab would identify a focus within I4.0 that met the needs of diverse stakeholders and provided a sustainable business model. By examining external technology trends and engaging with the lab’s stakeholders – manufacturers, workforce, community members, educators, and students – we identified digital twin technologies as a driver of regional innovation and I4.0 transformation.

woman using an ipad in a manufacturing plant

Defining a Digital Innovation Space

In our work to define the role of and requirements for their collaborative digital innovation space, we incorporated our experience

  • working with manufacturing stakeholders to determine their needs and barriers to adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies,
  • helping U.S. small and medium manufacturers identify and adopt new technologies,
  • building regional technology-focused innovation ecosystems, and
  • assessing regions’ economic and innovation capabilities.

Identifying a niche opportunity: digital twin technology

We recommended the construction of a space that would provide a value proposition for industry engagement. Subsequently, we

  • Identified key partners and early adopters
  • Considered programs that would support the different stakeholders and attract industry engagement
  • Proposed business and operational models that would serve the community while generating revenue and leading to long term sustainability
  • Advised on the elements of the building design that would align with the business model and programming.

Using our insights, our client received funding to implement the project and asked us to advise during the project’s second phase. We tested the viability of potential business models defined in the first phase and collaborated with the architects to ensure the building layout supported the University’s goals and vision.

Related Services:
Innovation for Digital Evolution

Interested in innovation?

Subscribe to our industry newsletters.