Tuesday, March 22, 2016
UK inflation stays at 0.3%; Manufacturing to get boost from 3D printing; J&J working on disease prediction project
1 UK inflation stays at 0.3% (BBC) UK inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index was unchanged at 0.3% in February, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Annual inflation has been below the Bank of England's 2% target for two years, and last year it was zero.
The Bank said last month that it expected inflation to stay below 1% this year. Other ONS figures published at the same time indicated that Chancellor George Osborne is close to missing his target for cutting the country's budget deficit in the 2015-16 financial year.
Government borrowing fell less than expected in February, coming in at £7.1bn, according to the ONS. That brings the total deficit for the 11 months of the year so far to £70.7bn, as against the chancellor's full-year target of £72.2bn.
2 Manufacturing to get boost from 3D printing (Lester Hio & Marissa Lee in Straits Times) At a factory on the fifth floor of Woodlands Spectrum, a sprawling Singapore industrial estate, 10 machines, each about the size of a large cupboard, hum for hours each day as they churn out fully-formed products in metals, plastic, resin, sandstone or wax.
Making anything from machinery gears to figurines, the additive manufacturing facility run by Ultra Clean Asia Pacific (UCT), a unit of Nasdaq-listed manufacturing solutions player Ultra Clean Holdings, is the largest commercial 3D-printing facility in South-east Asia, and still has capacity to spare despite receiving five to 10 orders per day.
Industrial additive manufacturing is set to grow in the future of manufacturing here, thanks to the versatility, low cost and creative potential of the process, said industry players who see growth in this sector.
"Additive manufacturing is in its 'mature pioneering stage' here - it will only grow," said Mr Lavi Lev, UCT's senior vice-president for Asia. "It has solid solutions to problems, and in some cases even solutions looking for a problem - which means I have this new technology, maybe someone can do something with it."
Even as traditional manufacturing continues to slow to a grind, posting its first contraction since the global financial crisis, additive manufacturing is showing signs of growth. In the past four years alone, interest in the real-world applications here have soared, with international companies setting up 3D-printing facilities here.
In fact, the slowdown may end up giving a boost to innovation in the additive manufacturing sector, as companies seek to find cheaper and faster ways of producing parts, said Professor Chua Chee Kai, executive director for the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
According to the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, the market size of additive manufacturing is projected to grow five-fold from $2.2 billion in 2012 to an estimated $10.8 billion in 2021. Among others, demand is likely to come from the aerospace, defence, auto and medical industries, driven by the prospect of cheaper and customised products.
3 J&J working on disease prediction (San Francisco Chronicle) Johnson & Johnson has ramped up its ambitious project to learn how to predict who will develop particular diseases and find therapies to prevent or stop the disease early, when it's most treatable.
Since the health care giant announced its groundbreaking project in February 2015, it's expanded to include two dozen research programs with partners — in government, universities, patient advocacy groups and other drug and diagnostic test companies.
Their expertise and resources should speed discoveries and allow Johnson & Johnson to spread its funding across more ventures.