Analysts say flowmeter sales are growing
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.
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.
The article was first published in controlglobal