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Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 9th Edition 



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Flow Research is now shipping our very popular study, Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 9th Edition. We have also released the companion study, Module A: Strategies, Industries, & Applications. These studies cover the entire worldwide market for all the major types of flowmeters. 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 April 2022..

In our 8th Edition, we focused on the years 2019, 2020, and 2021. By looking at all three years we were able to determine the effect of the covid-19 pandemic for each flowmeter type. In the 9th Edition, we have a base year of 2022 and reliable data for 2023, and have determined how the market is recovering from the pandemic. In the 9th Edition, we take a completely fresh look at the market for each flowmeter type, and build this into a definitive picture of the entire flowmeter market, worldwide and by region. 

With a base year of 2022 and reliable data for 2023, we forecast the market by technology to 2027. Flow Research has definitive data on the flowmeter market going back to 1993. The first worldwide flowmeter study was published in September 1994 and at that time the worldwide flowmeter market was just $2.1 billion. Since that time, we have followed the flowmeter market year by year, beginning with the first Edition of Volume X published in February 2003. Through eight editions of Volume X and dozens of studies on individual flowmeter types, we have chronicled the market as it grew to over three times 1993. Our approach is to look at each flowmeter type individually and then put all the flowmeter types together into a definitive analysis of the entire flowmeter market. This is also the approach we are took in the 9th Edition.

Volume X and Module A write the definitive story of the effect of the pandemic on the flowmeter markets.  They include 2022 data as a reference point, but also include actual data and segmentation from 2023 to show what the impact of the pandemic was on those markets and on the oil & gas industry. Companies were also asked to project their sales in 2024, and these responses are taken into account in the forecasting. Forecasts are included to 2024 that take into account the strong recovery that is already occurring in the flowmeter markets, and in the economy as a whole. Pent-up demand helped make 2022 a stronger year for the flowmeter markets, for the oil & gas industry, and for the economy as a whole. This trend continued in 2023.

Volume X and Module A 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.  

A picture containing diagram

Description automatically generatedVolume X covers three types of flowmeters:

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

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

  • Emerging technology: sonar, optical

The all-in-one Volume X determines 2022 market size and forecasts growth through 2027 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 2027

  • Market shares for each flowmeter type

  • 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 Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic, vortex, thermal, differential pressure transmitters, primary elements, positive displacement, and turbine flowmeters. It provides data about industry trends and how they are impacting the flowmeter market. 

We determined the largest and fastest-growing industries and applications 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 2027

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

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

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 1977. Thermal flowmeters were developed in the mid-1970s.

Diagram, engineering drawing

Description automatically generatedNew-technology flowmeters share several characteristics: 
. Introduced after 1950 
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
5. Have limited to no moving parts

Conventional flowmeters 

Many of the conventional 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 late 1700’s. 

Conventional flowmeters include differential pressure, turbine, positive displacement, open channel, 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
5.Typically have moving parts that are subject to wear

Conventional 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 and variable area meters are significantly lower than that of new-technology flowmeters.

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

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


Description automatically generatedNew-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 conventional 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 conventional 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, conventional 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.

Diagram, engineering drawing

Description automatically generatedApprovals 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.

The AWWA has published approvals for magnetic flowmeters for utility measurement of water. As a result, magnetic flowmeters are competing with PD and turbine meters in 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 conventional meters 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.

An airplane wing in the sky

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceHow 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 11 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 or she fails to select one of the other types. Not every technology can be growing at a 6 percent rate, for example. 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 studies 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! This year, 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of our first edition of this study!

Previous studies:

Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 8th Edition

Published in April 2022


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

Published in May 2019

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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