Raj Batra, president of Digital Factory for Siemens USA, has been elected to a two-year term on the Board of Governors of the Association of Electrical Equipment and Medical Imaging Manufacturers (NEMA). Created in the fall of 1926, 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. Batra says that NEMA’s role is evolving beyond these roles. “It’s not just about electro-mechanical standards anymore,” says Batra. Besides work in medical imaging standards, Batra names the digitalization of the work place 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,” says Batra. “We need a workforce that can use this level of plant sophistication and the level of training required.”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. 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.”
Siemens has a strong training program of its own, and the company’s offerings have recently been recertified by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) for granting continuing education units (CEUs).Another area where Batra sees NEMA playing a role is in cybersecurity. “As far as legislation goes, we certainly need to consider appropriate standards,” says 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 adds.“There are numerous types of cyberattacks, and the reasons these are carried out are just as numerous. Regardless, for industrial operations, the consequences can be significant,” he says. “It’s not a question of if your facilities will have a cyberattack, 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.” Based on this learning, Batra says that Siemens offers a comprehensive managed service offering to help customers in cybersecurity. These services include assessment, implementation, continuous monitoring and mitigation.