By Rich Merritt, Senior Technical Editor
ong-time readers know that CONTROL does not consider market studies to be “hard” news, mainly because no mechanism exists to regulate market research. We think market research companies tend to write only “good news” reports. Bad news does not sell, so their rosy predictions are sometimes questionable.
Nevertheless, industry researchers do sometimes provide valuable insight into the various markets. That’s why we offer their findings in our product roundups. In this case, we are inclined to believe most of what they say, mainly because they seem to agree on the market size, which flowmeter types are growing, and the economic factors driving flowmeter sales.
and Flow Research
, agree that sales of Coriolis flowmeters are growing fast. ARC predicts annual growth of 8.9% over the next five years, and Flow Research predicts 7.6% growth through 2007. Their market numbers are similar, both saying the market was $400+ million in 2003 and will reach $600+ million in 2007.
ARC’s Paula Hollywood says the growth in Coriolis meters was fueled by the American Gas Association, which recognized Coriolis as a suitable measurement method for natural gas applications a few years ago. Coriolis meters can measure mass flow directly, making them suitable for applications such as Compressed Natural Gas.
Jesse Yoder of Flow Research says Coriolis flowmeters are the most accurate on the market, making them the meter of choice for custody transfer applications.
ARC says that sales of magnetic flowmeters are growing 2% per year in most of the world, but sales are booming in China, where ARC predicts growth of 10.7% over the next five years.
Ultrasonic flowmeters continue to be the number one seller, with both firms saying growth is predicted to be 7.9% over the next five years. As for “traditional flowmeters,” Flow Research reports that they still dominate the gas industry, in spite of increasing use of Coriolis and ultrasonic meters. Positive displacement, turbine and differential pressure flowmeters continue to rank 1, 2 and 3, respectively, in sales to the gas meter market.
Yoder says the desire of companies for “one-stop shopping” is affecting the distribution of flowmeters. Large companies such as ABB and Invensys are gobbling up flow meter lines from smaller companies; Siemens purchased Milltronics and Moore Process Automation; and other large instrument companies, like Honeywell, are reselling private-label flowmeters. All the big companies want their own flowmeter products.
Europe and North America have become replacement markets, says ARC, because they are experiencing little growth. The Asian market, primarily China and India, are the biggest markets because they are building infrastructure and an industrial base.
As for technology trends in flowmeters, a glance at the products in our roundup does not reveal any dominant technology emerging. Flowmeters are definitely getting smarter, with built-in diagnostics, web servers, more mathematics, and more networking capability. And, just when you think advanced technologies are destroying the market for traditional flowmeters, we see some new orifice plate and paddlewheel sensors.
For more information about any of these products, click on the description of the product below to view a longer description and all contact information, including phone numbers, e-mail addresses, websites, and a photo where available.Flowmeter Diagnoses Itself
The Optiflux family of electromagnetic flowmeters has built-in diagnostics that provide information on the state of the flowmeter, the quality of the measurement, and application faults. Accuracy is 0.15% of measured value, making the instrument suitable for custody transfer applications. An integrated conductivity measurement enables recognition of product changes and quality checks of inline cleaning. KrohneMagnetic Flowmeter Diagnoses Electrodes
The Admag AXF magnetic flowmeter has a dual-frequency excitation method for difficult applications, diagnostics to detect electrode coating, and a replaceable electrode.
The user can select a 165 Hz-high frequency component for high concentration slurries to ensure greater stability and quicker response. It constantly monitors changes in the impedance of the electrode circuit due to the build-up of insulating coatings, and provides an alarm function. Yokogawa
ST75 Series flowmeter measures mass flow rate, totalized flow and media temperature of air or gas flows in line sizes from 0.25–2.0 in. It handles a flow range from 0.008–839 scfm, and measures natural gas, methane, fuel gases, combustion air, oxygen, nitrogen and all inert gases and compressed air. It is suitable for use in fuel and air feed lines to furnaces, burners, industrial ovens, heat treating systems, boilers, and power co-generation equipment. Fluid Components International