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Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 7th Edition 

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Flow Research is now shipping Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 7th Edition and a standalone, companion study, Module A: Strategies, Industries, & Applications. The 612-page Volume X covers the entire worldwide market for all of the major types of flowmeters.  The 500-page Module A provides tactical and strategic recommendations for suppliers in each market segment and forecasts best areas for future growth. Both are new editions of studies last published in January 2017. 

These exciting worldwide research studies found that the overall market is strong and trending upward, following a decline largely due to the oil & gas market. As oil prices began recovering in early 2016, the worldwide flowmeter market began to ride the wave and is now back on a healthy upward track. Coriolis and ultrasonic flowmeters, which are industry-approved for custody transfer of both gas and liquids, are projected to experience the fastest growth rates through 2023.  Magnetic and vortex flowmeters are also projected to show good growth.

Volume X and Module A are the result of a full year of research, and display in one glance a comparison of the revenues, units sold, and compound annual growth rate for all the main types of flowmeters. Growth factors and limiting factors for each flowmeter type explain the rationale of the market forecasts and what can be expected over the next five years. No other studies exist that provide this type of all-in-one view of the flowmeter market. 

The data in both studies is valuable for any company concerned with developing strategies and products.. Even companies that sell only one or two types of flowmeters can benefit from learning about the eight or nine other types of flowmeters they are competing against.  

Volume X covers three types of flowmeters:

  • New-technology: Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic, vortex, thermal

  • Traditional technology: differential pressure transmitters, primary elements, positive displacement, turbine, open channel, variable area

  • Emerging technology: sonar, optical

The all-in-one Volume X determines 2018 market size and market shares, and forecasts growth through 2023 for all flowmeters used in process environments. It makes it easy to compare market size, market shares, and growth rates for all types of flowmeters. We use a bottom-up method to determine market size for each flowmeter type, and then put these numbers together for the worldwide picture. We believe this is the only way to get a reliable picture of the world flowmeter market and to find out how the different flowmeter types compare with each other. Volume X features:

  • Market size of the worldwide markets for 11 flowmeter technologies

  • Market size forecasts for each flowmeter type through 2023

  • Market shares for each flowmeter type in 2018

  • Worldwide and regional market size and market share data

  • A technology description and analysis for each flowmeter type, including major
    competitive strengths and weaknesses

  • Growth factors for each flowmeter technology

  • Company profiles with product information for easy comparison 

Module A covers all but open channel, variable area, sonar, and optical flowmeters. It provides data about industry trends and how they are impacting the flowmeter market. 

We determined the largest and fastest-growing applications and industries for each flowmeter type and forecast the best areas for future growth. We present the data by each flowmeter type, showing shipments in dollars and percentages for a long list of industries and applications – worldwide and by region. Module A also includes detailed information on the major process industries and the applications using flowmeters today. Module A features:

  • Shipments by industry and application in dollars and percentages, broken out by flowmeter type

  • Forecasted growth rates by both application and industry through 2023

  • Essential information on market outlook and industry trends by flowmeter type

  • Realistic strategies for success for those entering or already in the flowmeter market

The battle goes on: New-technology vs.  traditional flowmeters

One of the most interesting developments in the flowmeter market today is the battle between the newer flow technologies and traditional flowmeters. (As emerging technologies, sonar and optical flowmeters have begun to take some hold on the market, although each has somewhat limited applications.) 

New-technology flowmeters, first introduced after 1950, are currently the subject of intense product development by suppliers. The need for increased accuracy, reliability, and managed network capabilities are causing some users to make the switch to new-technology meters. 

Yet traditional-technology meters -- especially DP flow, positive displacement and turbine meters -- have the advantage of a large installed base that is reluctant to switch without cause. In addition, they were among the first types of flowmeters to receive approvals from industry associations for custody transfer applications. 

When users select flowmeters, 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, although users sometimes replace one type of flowmeter with another type. In other cases, users need meters for new plants or for new applications within existing plants – and can select between new-technology and traditional technology flowmeters.

While there is a general trend towards new-technology meters and away from traditional meters, the rate of change varies greatly by industry and application. 

Despite the growth of new-technology flowmeters such as Coriolis and ultrasonic over the past few years, traditional technology flowmeters are holding their own. Why are customers still so loyal to these meters? While the explanations vary with the type of meter, there are five themes that run throughout: 

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. If more meters need to be added in a plant, users often stick with what they have rather than selecting a different type of meter.

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.

Approvals by standards organizations. For example, positive displacement and turbine flowmeters are approved by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in the US and the International Standards Organization (ISO) in Europe 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 market. 

Turbine meters are specified by approval bodies for use in custody transfer for utility measurement in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. These organizations include the AWWA, the American Gas Association (AGA), and the ISO in Europe. These approvals have been in place for many years.

Product enhancements.. Users are also sticking with traditional technology 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 from.

Best solution. Another reason why users continue to stay with the traditional technologies is that they are genuinely the best solution for certain types of flow applications. Each type of meter has its own set of applications in which it excels.

New-technology flowmeters 

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. Magnetic flowmeters were first introduced in Holland in 1952. Tokimec first introduced ultrasonic meters in Japan in 1963. Eastech brought out vortex flowmeters in 1969, while Coriolis meters came onto the market in 1979. Thermal flowmeters were developed in the mid-1970s.

New-technology flowmeters share several characteristics: 
1. Introduced after the end of World War II 
2. Incorporate technological advances that avoid some of the problems inherent in earlier flowmeters 
3. More the focus of new product development efforts by the major flowmeter suppliers than traditional technology meters 
4. Higher performance level, including criteria such as accuracy, than that of traditional technology meters

Traditional technology flowmeters 

Many of the traditional technology flowmeters were developed 100 years or more ago. In fact, 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. 

Traditional technology flowmeters include differential pressure, turbine, positive displacement, and variable area meters. While suppliers continue to bring out enhanced traditional technology flowmeters, they are less the focus of new product development than new-technology meters. They share the following characteristics:
1. Introduced before 1950
2. Less the focus of new product development than new-technology meters
3. Lower accuracy level than new-technology flowmeters 
4. Slow to incorporate advances in communication protocols such as HART, Foundation Fieldbus, and Profibus

Traditional technology flowmeters generally have higher maintenance requirements than new-technology flowmeters. Many of the problems inherent in DP meters are related to the primary elements they use to measure flow. Orifice plates, for example, 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.

How we capture the entire flowmeter market at once

It is very difficult to find reliable data on the entire flowmeter market without studying each individual technology first and then combining the data together. Without up-close knowledge of each technology, it would be very much like viewing 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 understanding.

What we have done in our popular Volume X  is more like the following: We looked at the terrain from 20,000 feet and decided we needed a lot more detail on the towns – the major flow technologies -- and how they are linked together with highways. So we landed the plane and did detailed studies of each of the towns. We then got back in the plane with the reports in hand, and took another look at the entire geography.

From 20,000 feet, we can now see the broad outline of each of the 12 towns below. But because we have studied each town individually, we also have in-depth knowledge of each town. From above, we can also easily see the connecting roads between all the towns. This is important, because the “towns” 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 10 percent rate, for instance. By looking at every technology, it is possible to identify and compare the market penetration of the different technologies, and to understand which technologies are growing and which are being replaced.

We draw on our in-depth studies of each technology to update the most relevant data on all of the flow technologies at the same time – rather than trying to somehow combine new full-scale studies that would be out of date by the time the project was done.

Taking this second look from 20,000 feet -- capturing the very latest high-level information like revenue, units sold, and average selling price -- gives us the entire picture, all at one time.

Flow Research has been publishing Volume X since 2003, so we can say with confidence  that our proven approach – in the sky and on the ground -- brings you the most complete, comprehensive, and current research possible on the world flowmeter market. Please check out our Overview and see for yourself!


Prior studies:

Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 6th Edition 
Published in January 2017
Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 5th Edition 
Published in August 2014
Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 4th Edition 
Published in 2012
Volume 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 
Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 1st Edition 
Published in 2003

 
 
Flow Research, Inc. | 27 Water Street | Wakefield, MA 01880 | (781) 245-3200 | (781) 224-7552 (fax) | (800) 245-1799 (from the USA) | info@flowresearch.com

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