From The Editor | April 10, 2013

Should You Trash Your Flow Meter?


By Kevin Westerling,


Market analysts say it's 'out with the old, in with the new' when it comes to high-tech flow meters versus their traditional counterparts.

Generally speaking, market research reports aren’t terribly exciting reads, but they are at times enlightening. Studies on how specific technologies are being applied can reveal trends for the industries they serve. As statisticians track the rate of adoption and forecast the future, end-users get a sense of where they stand in relation to the market and their peers. I recently came across some interesting analysis from Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA) on flow meters, which have application across a number of industries. However, I homed in on the findings relevant to water and wastewater to share with you what they reveal about our corner of the world.

In what struck me as optimistic phrasing, GIA reports that “post-recession,” the flow meter market is taking off — expected to reach US$5.1 billion by 2017. The study notes that long-delayed funding is finally coming through for plant upgrades (hopefully you’re seeing this), and that facilities are increasingly installing high-tech flow meters as part of the modernization process.

Specifically, GIA states that ultrasonic and coriolis flow meters are “extremely popular among the end-users” for their precision and reliability. The ultrasonic segment, in fact, is the fastest-growing of the group, boasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.29% over the analysis period (2009 –2017). Cited benefits of ultrasonic flow meters are improved accuracy, obstruction-free measurement, and “significantly lower costs.”

While ultrasonic flow meters are climbing up the ladder, the magnetic flow meter (magmeter) segment remains the largest, fueled by its dominance in the water/wastewater space. Magmeters, GIA reports, are preferred for their overall reliability and accuracy, as well as their capacity in non-intrusive measurement.

As the so-called high-tech flow meter segments (ultrasonic, coriolis, and magmeters) take over, the “traditional” types that are said to be losing ground include turbine, differential pressure, and positive displacement.

I’m curious to hear what your experiences are regarding the above-identified trend — whether or not you're ditching the old for the new. Have you recently installed or plan to install new flow meters at your facility? If so, which type and why?

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