Research has nearly completed our 7th edition of a study of the entire worldwide flowmeter market.
This is a new edition of a study that was last published in January 2017. The study
is comprehensive, covering all of the major types of flowmeters, and is called
Volume X: The World Market
for Flowmeters, 7th Edition. A second companion study covering Strategies,
Industries, & Applications is also available.
This study includes the
following types of flowmeters:
is very difficult to find reliable data on the entire flowmeter market
without studying each individual technology first and then combining the
data together. This is very
much like seeing a landscape from 20,000 feet. You can see the outlines of buildings and roads, but very
little detail. This may be
sufficient knowledge for some purposes, but not for in-depth
we have done in this project is more like the following: we looked at the terrain from 20,000 feet and decided we needed a
lot more detail. The major flow technologies can be compared to different towns that are
linked together with highways. So
we landed the plane, and did a detailed study of each of the towns
individually. We wrote up this information in a report on each town. We then got back in the plane with the reports in hand, and took
another look at the entire geography.
X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 6th Edition
Published in January 2017
X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 5th Edition
Published in August 2014
X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 4th Edition
Published in 2012
X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 3rd Edition
Published in October 2010
Volume X: The
World Market for Flowmeters, 2nd Edition
Published in April 2008
World Market for Flowmeters, 1st Edition
20,000 feet, we can now see the broad outline of each of the twelve towns
below. But because we have
studied each town (flow technology) individually, we also have in-depth
knowledge of each town. We
can also see the connecting roads between all the towns. These roads were not readily visible from the ground. Taking a second look from 20,000 feet gives us the entire picture,
all at one time.
The flow technologies do not exist in isolation. Anytime a customer selects one type of
flowmeter, he fails to
select one of the other types. Not
every technology can be growing at a ten percent rate. By studying every technology, it is possible to identify compare
the market penetration of the different technologies, and to understand
which technologies are growing and which are being replaced.
method we have used also avoids another problem.I t takes so long to do individual studies of all the flow
technologies that, by the time the project is done, the initial data is
out of date. We will avoid this problem by
updating the data on all the flow technologies at the same time.
of the most interesting developments in the flowmeter market today is the
battle between the newer flow technologies and the traditional flowmeters.
New-technology flowmeters include Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic,
vortex, and thermal flowmeters.
The traditional flow technologies include differential pressure
(DP), turbine, positive displacement, open channel, variable area, and
target flowmeters. While
there is a general trend towards the new-technology meters and away from
the traditional meters, the rate of change varies greatly by industry and
application. Emerging technologies are also changing the flowmeter
users select flowmeters today, they are faced with a variety of choices.
Not only are many technologies available, but so are many suppliers
for each technology. When
ordering replacement meters, users often replace like with like.
This is one reason that DP flowmeters still have the largest
installed base of any type of flowmeter.
In other cases, users need to select meters for new plants, or for
new applications within existing plants.
Users also sometimes replace one type of flowmeter with another
type. In these cases, users
need to select between new-technology and traditional technology
New-Technology Flowmeters: An Overview
flowmeters are so-called because they represent technologies that have
been introduced more recently than differential pressure flowmeters, and
several others. Most of the
new-technology flowmeters came into industrial use in the 1960s and 1970s,
while the history of differential pressure flowmeters goes back to the
early 1900s. Each
new-technology flowmeter is based on a different physical principle, and
represents a unique approach to flow measurement.
flowmeters share several characteristics.
First, they have been introduced in the last sixty years.
Second, they incorporate technological advances that avoid some of
the problems inherent in earlier flowmeters.
Third, they are more the focus of new product development efforts
by the major flowmeter suppliers than traditional technology meters.
Fourth, their performance, including criteria such as accuracy, is
at a higher level than that of traditional technology meters.
flowmeters that incorporate newer technologies are classified here as
new-technology flowmeters. This
category includes Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic, vortex, multivariable
differential pressure (DP), and thermal meters.
These meters were all introduced in the past 60 years.
Magnetic flowmeters were first introduced in
in 1952. Tokimec first
introduced ultrasonic meters in
in 1963. Eastech brought out
vortex flowmeters in 1969, while Coriolis meters came onto the market in
1979. Multivariable DP
flowmeters were introduced in the mid-1990s.
And thermal flowmeters were developed in the mid-1970s.
as flowmeters that incorporate new technologies are classified as
new-technology meters, so flowmeters that incorporate more traditional
technologies are classified as traditional technology meters.
These include differential pressure, turbine, positive
displacement, and variable area meters.
As a group, these meters have been around longer than the
new-technology meters. They
generally have higher maintenance requirements than new-technology
flowmeters. And while
suppliers continue to bring out enhanced traditional technology flowmeters, they are less the focus of new product development than
of the traditional technology flowmeters were developed 100 years or more
ago. The history of DP meters
goes back to the early 1900s, while the beginnings of the turbine meter go
back to at least the mid-1800s. Many
of the problems inherent in DP meters are related to the primary elements
that they use to measure flow. For
example, orifice plates are subject to wear, and can also be knocked out
of position by impurities in the flowstream.
Turbine and positive displacement meters have moving parts that are
subject to wear. The accuracy
levels of open channel, thermal, and variable area meters are
significantly lower than that of new-technology flowmeters.
Despite the growth of
new-technology flowmeters such as Coriolis and ultrasonic over the past
few years, traditional technology flowmeters are holding their own.
Many users are still selecting differential pressure (DP), turbine,
positive displacement, and other more traditional meters as their
flowmeter solutions. This
article describes the traditional technology flowmeter market, and
explains why this market is still holding onto market share even in the
face of competing technologies.
flowmeters share the following characteristics:
a group, these meters were introduced before 1950.
are less the focus of new product development than new-technology
performance, including criteria such as accuracy, is not at the same
level as the performance of new-technology flowmeters.
generally have higher maintenance requirements than new-technology
are slow to incorporate recent advances in communication protocols
such as HART, Foundation Fieldbus, and Profibus.
flowmeters include DP, positive displacement, turbine, open channel,
variable area, and target. Business
is brisk with many of these meters. In
terms of units, there were more positive displacement and also more
turbine flowmeters sold worldwide in 2007 than all the new-technology
flowmeters combined. Why are
customers still so loyal to these meters
Familiarity Breeds Respect
While the explanations vary
with the type of meter, there are several themes that run throughout.
One answer is familiarity.
End-users like having a technology they are familiar with and can
understand. DP, positive
displacement, and turbine meters especially are very well known and
understood technologies. There
is a comfort level among users with these technologies that is less likely
to exist with the newer technologies such as Coriolis and vortex.
In case more meters need to be added in a plant, users often stick
with what they have rather than selecting a different type of meter.
A second reason is installed
base. Some flowmeters such
as DP and positive displacement have been around for over 100 years.
Once these meters are installed, customers find in many cases that
it is easier to replace them with meters of the same kind than to switch
to another technology. Once a
technology is in place, backup parts are readily available, any potential
problems are usually known, and the path for replacement is clear.
All these are reasons to stick with an existing technology.
Another reason is approvals
by standards organizations. For
example, positive displacement and turbine flowmeters are approved by the
American Water Works Association (AWWA) in the
and the International Standards Organizatioin (ISO) in
for use in custody transfer of water.
The AWWA has approvals for both nutating disc and oscillating
piston PD meters. While the
AWWA has formed a working group to consider approvals for magnetic
flowmeters, a published document on magnetic flowmeters is close to two
years away. In the meantime,
PD and turbine meters will continue to dominate the water custody transfer
The effect of approvals is
shown by the example of AGA 9, which formulates criteria for the use of
ultrasonic flowmeters for custody transfer of natural gas.
After the publication of AGA 9 in 1998, the ultrasonic market for
natural gas flow measurement received a major boost.
Previous AGA publications laid out criteria for the use of DP and
Users are also sticking with
traditional technologies because suppliers
are bringing out improved products.
Turbine suppliers are using material such as ceramic to improve the
life of ball bearings. Rosemount
has introduced the 3051S, a pressure transmitter with increased
accuracy and stability. PD
suppliers are using enhanced manufacturing techniques to build more
precision into their PD meters. Communication
protocols such as HART and Profibus are beginning to appear on turbine and
PD meters. All these changes
are resulting in improved and more reliable meters for users to choose