Created in the fall of 1926, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is perhaps best known for its extensive electrical equipment standards-making experience and works closely with IEC to support global standards. The organization also is active in industry advocacy and business analysis for its members.
Raj Batra, president of Digital Factory for Siemens USA, has been elected to a two-year term on the organization’s board of governors, and he sees NEMA’s role as evolving.
“It’s not just about electromechanical standards anymore,” said Batra. Besides work in medical imaging standards, Batra names the digitalization of the workplace and all that implies, particularly workforce education and cybersecurity as areas where NEMA is focusing.
“Training is so important for maintaining sophisticated, competitive plants. NEMA will play a role here,” said Batra. “We need a workforce that can use this level of plant sophistication and has the level of training required.”
See Also: Thwarting Cyber Threats
Batra sees Siemens as having a good deal to offer NEMA in its training initiatives.
“Siemens, like NEMA, is committed to this kind of education,” he explained. “We do a lot in this arena. We give in-kind donations to universities and junior colleges and contribute to apprenticeship programs. We also sponsor the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. This gives a $100,000 prize to some of the best high school students in these disciplines.”
Another area where Batra sees NEMA playing a role is in cybersecurity.
“As far as legislation goes, we certainly need to consider appropriate standards,” said Batra. “There is much we can do to safeguard installations. As a consumer, you wouldn’t buy a router or computer without some security. But many in the manufacturing space don’t have the same concern with their industrial facilities. But a hack can lead to an incredible loss in terms of downtime. Corporations really have an obligation to defend themselves.” On a nationwide level, keeping critical infrastructure up and running is also crucial, he added.
“There are numerous types of cyber attacks, and the reasons these are carried out are just as numerous,” said Batra. “Regardless, for industrial operations, the consequences can be significant. It’s not a question of if your facilities will have a cyber attack, but when. There’s a lot of advocacy, collaboration and action that has taken place around the cybersecurity topic during the past several years, which is a positive for all involved.”