Digital Foundry at New Kensington hosts inaugural Industry Leader Tech Showcase

Newest Foundry Tech Partner, Canary Labs, also announced at event
Man wearing mask holds digital tablet in front of robotic arm

Anthony Gioia, automation engineer for Premier Automation, showcases a FANUC America automated collaborative robot during the inaugural Industry Leader Technology Showcase hosted by Penn State New Kensington and the Digital Foundry at New Kensington on Sept. 8. The event featured keynote presentations and demonstrations highlighting connected system technology and solutions that will be available at the Digital Foundry at New Kensington for regional manufacturing leaders and workforce development. 

Credit: Rebecca Dietrich

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — The Digital Foundry at New Kensington hosted its inaugural Industry Leader Technology Showcase on Sept. 8 for leaders of regional manufacturing organizations.

“It was great to work with our Technology Partners on our first event for local industry leaders to provide a sneak preview of some of the incredible digital technologies that we will be bringing to local manufacturing through the Digital Foundry at New Kensington,” said Sherri McCleary, executive director of the Digital Foundry.

The afternoon, invite-only event, held at Knead Café's Conference Center in New Kensington, featured a number of keynote presentations with five of the Digital Foundry’s Technology Partners highlighting the use of connected systems within industry. Presenting partners included Siemens, Advanced Controls and Distribution (ACD), Premier Automation, Ectobox and Canary Labs.

“Our theme for this event was all about connected systems for smart manufacturing and the business value these technologies can bring,” continued McCleary. “The selection and engagement of our partners has been strategic, pulling together all the pieces of technology needed to move toward integrated, connected and smart operations, and that was represented in the presentations and demonstrations they provided at the event. From the development of simulations and digital twins from Siemens; the hardware and devices provided by Banner Engineering and ACD for sensing and data collection; integrated automation from Premier Automation; IoT [Internet of Things] and data analytics solutions from Ectobox; to final storage management and visualization of data from Canary Labs, all provided visibility into the connectivity of smart digital systems.”

After presentations, participants were able to take part in eight interactive technology demonstrations provided by ACD, Banner Engineering, Canary Labs, the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Institute (CESMII), Ectobox, Siemens and the Digital Foundry. Topics ranged from machine simulation, machine-to-machine communications, collaborative robotics, CESMII’s SMART Manufacturing Innovation Platform, digital twin examples, data-driven decision making and workforce development opportunities.

During the event, the Digital Foundry also announced the addition of Canary Labs as its newest Technology Partner, joining ACD, Banner Engineering, Ectobox, Premier Automation and Siemens, who were previously announced last month.

“Digital transformation is a journey, and like all successful journeys, having the right guide and the right gear are essential,” said Jeff Knepper, executive director of business development at Canary Labs. “The Digital Foundry at New Kensington is that guide, and the integrated solutions they are building is that gear. Canary is pleased to provide software solutions at the Foundry that will make it easy for future members of the Digital Foundry to collect, store and learn from sensor data.”

The showcase is the first of many future events that will be hosted by the Digital Foundry, which is a collaborative effort between the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland and Penn State New Kensington, with support and advisement from the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation (WCIDC) and a priority project identified in the Westmoreland County Comprehensive Plan – Reimagining Our Westmoreland. The facility is currently being built along the city’s Corridor of Innovation, a five-block stretch of Fifth Ave. between the campus’ innovation hub, The Corner, and Westmoreland County Community College-New Kensington. It is expected to open spring 2022 to serve a variety of stakeholders such as regional manufacturers and industry, K-12 school districts, college students, entrepreneurs, makers and workers in need of retraining or new job skills. The goal of the regional lab, which is part of the New Kensington campus-led NextovationTM initiative, is to serve as the epicenter for training and access to modern software and digital tools by integrating data and smart technologies into new products, manufacturing, operations and overall business management in a variety of fields.

About Digital Foundry at New Kensington

The Digital Foundry at New Kensington, currently being constructed along Fifth Avenue in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, will be a 15,044-square-foot innovation and manufacturing lab space aimed at building future-ready awareness and skill sets for the manufacturing industry, K-16 education sector, current and future workforce and community members in Southwestern PA. The lab received $5.5 million in funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, as well as a $1 million matching gift from Penn State through the Economic Development Matching Program, an initiative of its current campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.” A collaborative effort between Penn State New Kensington and the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland, the foundry’s mission is to drive the growth of ideas, learning and problem solving through application of digital technologies. Stay up-to-date with the Digital Foundry at


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