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Analysts say flowmeter sales are growing

Jan. 4, 2005
In this month's Product Roundup, CONTROL Senior Technical Editor Rich Merritt taps into the flowmeter market and discovers that although traditional markets are creeping along, Asian sales are booming.

 By Rich Merritt, Senior Technical Editor

Long-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.

An Evening With Dr. Flowmeter 

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.

Both ARC 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. Krohne

Magnetic 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      

Air/Gas Flowmeter
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

Control Flow Over the Web
The Universal Module controls mass flow controllers from any manufacturer over the Internet. It allows users to monitor a system of four flowmeters or flow controllers from any PC. Each flowmeter channel has a totalizer, dedicated alarm, and two dedicated relay outputs.  The module includes multi-step batch and flow control programs. All functions can be programmed through the integrated keypad using menu-driven software, or set up via RS-232 or HTML/TelNet interfaces. Cole-Parmer Instrument           

Holy Orifice (Plate), Batman!
The Model 405 Conditioning Orifice Plate has four equally spaced holes that condition the flow profile for a more stable measurement and provide 0.5% accuracy with two diameters of straight pipe-run. It works with a Model 3051S transmitter and software to form a 3051SFC flowmeter. This software allows user-configured flow units, low flow cut-off, and customized process alerts. The flowmeter is suitable for gas and steam applications where a compensated flow output is required. Rosemount/Emerson    

Electronic Flow Switch
The FS 10 flow switch that combines a solid-state relay and flow sensor in one compact unit measuring 1.5 x 3.55 in. It measures gas flow rates from 0.5–50 m/s and liquid flow rates from 0.01–3 m/s at temperatures from -13–212° F. When a predetermined flow rate is reached, it sends a transistor output, which can be used to turn a valve or pump on or off. E-T-A 

Clamp-On Flow Meter
The Series TFXL flow meter uses time of flight ultrasonic technology to measure flow of any liquid containing less than 40% total suspended solids or aeration. It clamps on the outside of existing pipe systems ranging in size from 1/2–2 in. Outputs include 4–20 mA and a choice of simulated turbine meter or TTL-pulse frequency, allowing direct interface to data collection systems. Dynasonics      

Mass Flow Meters Get Gas
Model GFM thermal mass flow meter measures the flow rate of gases with accuracy of 1.5% FS and repeatability of 0.5% FS. Readings on a LCD built into the top of the meter are in direct engineering units in terms of specific gases. Options include remote readouts via an extension wire supplied with a modular phone plug, 0-5 VDC and 4-20 mA analog outputs, and aluminum and stainless steel enclosures. Aalborg     

Paddlewheel Tells Temperature, Too
FP7002 Series flow sensor has 2% FS accuracy, 4–20 mA or 1–5 VDC field-selectable output, and a NEMA-4 housing. It comes factory calibrated to match the installation fitting, and has an independent temperature sensor/transmitter with a 4–20 mA loop output scaled over a 0–100° C temperature range. Prices start at $365. Omega Engineering   

Ultrasonic Flow Meter
This flow meter monitors flow rate and detects the fluid temperature of water in pipes that are 1 in. dia. or less. A four-digit numeric display provides water flow rate in gal/min or liters/min, total quantity accumulated in gallons or liters, and temperature in °F or °C. Outputs can be set by pushbutton for switching, pulse, or 4–20mA or 0–10 V.  Meters are available for flow ranges of 0–25.4 gpm. Prices start at $575. Ifm efector   

Coriolis Flow Meter
Sitrans F C Massflo Coriolis mass flowmeter monitors mass flow, volumetric flow, density and process temperatures for liquid or gas through a pipe. Measurement is virtually unaffected by variations in pressure, temperature, density, electrical conductivity and viscosity. It communicates via HART, Profibus, Devicenet, Modbus or Can-Open. Flow meters are user-configurable in software and hardware and a uniform sensor interface enables plug and play operation. Siemens Energy & Automation 

Measure Entrained Flow
Sonartrac provides on-line real-time measurement of the volumetric flow and amount of entrained air/gas present in any liquid, continuous-phase process fluid. The system also provides a measurement of only the liquid portion of the flow by compensating for the amount of entrained air/gas in the process line. The  clamp-on instrument can be installed non-intrusively on existing process lines. Cidra  

Gas Flow Calibration System
The CalTrak SL-500 portable, low-maintenance flow calibrator provides a standardized accuracy of 0.4%.  It can be used for inspection, validation and recalibration of mass flow controllers, flow meters and other flow equipment in the 5 sccm to 50 slpm range. The calibrator is NIST traceable, meets ISO 17025 certification, is CE approved, and requires minimal training for flow meter verification and calibration. Sierra Instruments   

Ultrasonic Volumetric Flowmeter
System 1010PV has embedded compensation software that allows it to make volumetric flow measurements in applications previously requiring the use of mass meters. Based on the unique and definable relationship between the sonic characteristics of a liquid and its temperature, the meter compensates for the impact of viscosity on Reynolds Number, producing a gross volumetric flow rate independent of viscosity. Compensated volumetric flow is displayed and output in RS232, pulse rate, 0-10 V and 4-20 mADC formats. Controlotron  

Enhanced Coriolis
Enhancements to the Quantim Coriolis mass flow meter/controller includes a valve that is more forgiving of variations in line pressures and reduces the chance of clogging. The valve also uses an all-metal valve seat, thus eliminating potential control issues associated with elastomer valve seat compatibility and swelling. The meter measures flow of liquids and gases in ranges from 1 to 28,000 g/hr, and is approved for use in Class 1 Division 2 installations as a UL-recognized component. Brooks Instrument/Emerson   

Cool Flowmeter
Coolpoint vortex shedding flowmeter measures and totalizes flows of water and low viscosity fluids such as water-based machine coolant and water/glycol mixtures. It has a scaled pulse output, 2% accuracy, and repeatability of 1%. Meters are available in sizes from 1/4 to 2 in., for flow rates from four-tenths of a gallon per minute to 200 gpm. Prices start at $350. Universal Flow Monitors        

Mass Flow Meter for Natural Gas
Thermal mass flow meter measures mass flow directly, compensates for process temperature changes, and can be configured to track gas usage and assess when peaks occur. Meters can be installed in burner lines to measure gas and oxygen flow for combustion control. The meters have no moving parts and are insensitive to dirt. Sage Metering 

Flow Tubes
Flo-Tube flow sensors create and sense a pressure difference in flowing media within a pipeline or any other closed conduit. When connected to the appropriate secondary instrumentation, such as a differential pressure gauge or 4-20 mA transmitter, it provides flow measurement data with 1% accuracy and 0.1% repeatability. Options include single, double and hot tap mountings, integral RTD and PTM;  and customized units for existing mountings. J-TEC Associates      

Flow Transmitter Checks Depth
The DVF-320 Depth Velocity flow transmitter has a submerged depth sensor with vented cable for level measurements. It measures flow rate, liquid level, and velocity. Applications include monitoring sanitary sewers, infiltration inflow, billing, sewer capacity, storm sewers, lift stations, influent/effluent, and as a disinfection system control. The sample rate may be adjusted to record depth, velocity,flow or average flow rate once every 10 seconds to once a day. Scientific Technologies 

Mass Flow Controller
The Model CMQ thermal flow sensor is capable of 1 mm/sec resolution and 2 msec response time. It is unaffected by temperature and/or pressure changes, and can measure reverse flow. Yamatake    

Piston Style Flow Meter
The Model 214 is rated for 7,500 psi, making it suitable for leakage testing on hydraulic test stands. It has  0.5% linearity over a 1000:1 range and a bottom end flow rate of 3 cc/min. The meter can be combined with a photo-optic or RVDT frequency transmitter to provide up to 100 pulses per cc. Options include analog transmitters with voltage or current outputs. Max Machinery     

Thermal Mass Flow
Series 534FT in-line thermal mass flow transmitters include eight models covering the mass flow range of 0 to 2350 SCFM, in pipe sizes from 1/2 to 8 in. The instrument uses flow nozzles and flow diffusers to obtain flow disturbance immunity without the need for screens, honeycomb or vortex generators at a low end-to-end pressure drop. All models have hazardous gas approvals, and CE compliance. Kurz Instruments

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