This piece was originally published in the September 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Digitalization, Electrification, Future of Standards, Workforce Development
Each year, NEMA asks its Members to submit ideas for seizing emerging opportunities and overcoming challenges facing the electroindustry. The NEMA Board of Governors recently approved the 2019 Strategic Initiatives, which collectively explore the themes of digitalization, electrification, the future of Standards, workforce development, and more.
Digitalization and the IoT
- Blockchain Guidance
Going beyond the hype of blockchain, this initiative will develop technical industry guidance detailing use cases (e.g., reliability, resilience, distributed energy resources, and transportation) as well as best practices for the use of blockchain in electrical products and systems within the Internet of Things (IoT).
- Augmented Reality for Codes and Standards
Hands-free technologies like augmented reality could help improve code compliance and offer ways to provide guidance to installers and end users of electrical products. This initiative will publish an electroindustry-tailored white paper of use cases, opportunities, and shortcomings of augmented reality as well as demonstration apps showing how functionality could be used to improve compliance with Standards and building codes.
- Smart Manufacturing
As the industrial Internet of Things expands, this initiative (which is being continued from 2018) will fund Standards and Advocacy efforts to include NEMA priorities on smart manufacturing in Standards and government policies.
- Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing
To give NEMA and MITA Members the information they need to prepare for the widespread use of additive manufacturing / 3D printing, NEMA will develop a report and host a Members workshop on use cases, safety and counterfeiting concerns, standardization gaps, and other barriers and opportunities surrounding the widespread adoption of 3D printing. NEMA will also advocate for appropriate safety certification of 3D printing materials.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) for Construction Projects
This initiative will develop technical guidance that enables construction projects to leverage the benefits of BIM, which uses digital models of products to optimize building performance. Using BIM in construction projects will increase efficiency through the entire project lifecycle (i.e., concept, design, build, operate, and demolish).
- Building Rating and Labeling
In order to promote above-code building performance, this initiative will determine the feasibility of establishing one or multiple commercial or residential building rating and labeling programs for energy-efficient, safe, reliable, and sustainable electrical products. The concept is similar to, but not intended to compete with, rating and labeling systems like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and ENERGY STAR®.
- Circular Economy and Materials in Buildings
As governments and consumers focus more on the materials used in products, this initiative will help Members assess the end-of-life impact of their products, investigate ecologically friendly materials that can be recycled at end of life, and investigate successful state recycling programs and their adoption levels. This initiative would also fund engagement in European materials regulatory efforts, which tend to be the basis upon which other markets build their materials regulations.
- Future of Standards
Rapidly iterating technologies require equally nimble technical guidance, yet the process for developing industry consensus Standards remains slow. Standards play an important role in ensuring product safety and performance, but improperly developed Standards can result in product commoditization and can limit innovation. This initiative will focus on developing an updated approach to standards development, requiring new expertise and redoubled engagement in outside groups’ digital standardization efforts.
- Seismic Activity Standards
No industry Standard currently exists to provide guidelines for testing the impact of seismic events on electrical equipment. This initiative will develop an industry Standard to define product-specific guidelines for seismic qualification of electrical equipment to comply with commercial building codes.
- Electrified Agriculture
From horticultural lighting and water-efficient pumps to advanced humidity and temperature controls, agricultural productivity can be enhanced through the use of electricity. This initiative will promote the safe and efficient use of electricity in modern agricultural practices by developing and promoting best practice guides for farmers and electric utilities.
Continuing our 2018 efforts on workforce development, in 2019 NEMA will work with Members to help implement a digital toolkit promoting the benefits of a career in electromanufacturing to middle and high school students. Work will also continue to roll out a pre-apprenticeship program whereby NEMA Members can collaborate with their local school districts to establish combined in-class and on-the-job training programs for high school students.