Flowmeters – A closer look at the numbers

IMS Research forecasts coriolis flowmeters to overtake differential pressure (DP) flowmeters as the largest flowmeter market in 2014, having replaced magnetic flowmeters as the second largest market in 2012.


For the purposes of this discussion, revenues made from both the primary element and differential pressure transmitter have been considered in the numbers relating to DP.

This is a bold statement and has certainly generated a lot of talk. It seems everyone has an opinion on the flowmeter industry but opinions vary based on the country and industry in which the individual represents. With that said, the below summarizes my view.

While the market for coriolis flowmeters is forecast to be larger than that of DP and electromagnetic in 2014, this is only reflective of the global market in terms of dollar revenues. In the Americas, revenues for DP are forecast to remain larger than those of coriolis through 2015. While in EMEA, coriolis revenues have already surpassed those of DP. Also, revenues only form part of the picture. This was illustrated by one of my peers, who kindly pointed out that analyzing the market this way was similar to comparing a Buggati Veyron with a mid-range Ford.

With this being the case, unit shipments can also tell a different story. In 2014, IMS Research forecasts over 430,000 DP flowmeters to be shipped globally versus less than 170,000 coriolis. With that said, coriolis flowmeters represent a much smaller portion of the market than dollar ($) revenues reflect.

The replacement of mechanical technologies does not imply that mechanical and differential flowmeters do not offer a valued solution in the market. Their low cost, familiarity, range, and ease of calibration ensures they will have a role to play in the market for quite some time. Again, that role will certainly be dependent on the individual application.

Despite being the largest market in dollar revenues or unit shipments, I’ll leave you to decide the outcome. Both coriolis and DP face competition from other flowmeter technologies and are subsequently used to varying degrees, by application. Accounting for nearly a quarter of global flowmeter revenues, the oil and gas industry is the largest segment of the flowmeter industry. It is also home to several flowmeter technologies. While much of the talk surrounds coriolis, ultrasonic and DP flowmeters, the industry is also starting to look at vortex flowmeters, primarily in refineries. Furthermore, with enhanced oil recovery techniques, like water injection, electromagnetic flowmeter use is also finding traction in the oil and gas sector. 

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