Ultrasonic flowmeter preferences drives market growth

Dedham, MA—The worldwide ultrasonic flowmeter market is expected to grow at a 7.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the next five years from nearly $406 million in 2002 to a little less than $600 million by the end of 2007, according to “Ultrasonic Flowmeter Worldwide Outlook” by ARC Advisory Group.


Dedham, MA— Increasing adoption of ultrasonic flowmeters for custody transfer measurement of refined liquid petroleum products and natural gas will drive robust growth in the market, according to a new study by ARC Advisory Group . The worldwide ultrasonic flowmeter market is expected to grow at a 7.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the next five years from nearly $406 million in 2002 to a little less than $600 million by the end of 2007, according to ARC’s “Ultrasonic Flowmeter Worldwide Outlook.”

Demand for maintenance-free, high-precision flowmeters has spurred suppliers to introduce new products for the oil and gas and district heating industries. “After a tarnished past, new ultrasonic flowmeters are raising the bar against which all flowmeter technologies must be judged. Ultrasonic technology will increasingly become the technology of choice, not merely an alternative to traditional flowmeter technologies,” says Wil Chin, ARC’s research director and the study’s author. “The non-contact and non-intrusive nature of ultrasonic flow technology poses a challenge to traditional flowmeters in process industries.” The study adds that, not surprisingly, price remains a major issue exacerbated by the extended economic downturn of the past few years.

In addition, recent approval of ultrasonic standards for precision ultrasonic flowmeters is further fueling their robust growth. The American Petroleum Institute (API) draft standard for liquid hydrocarbon custody transfer applications, American Gas Association (AGA) for natural gas applications, and International Organization for Legal Metrology (OIML) for international custody transfer applications provides strong support for the expected growth in this segment.

Ultrasonic versatility
Ultrasonic flowmeters are available in a variety of configurations for many different applications and at various price levels. Multi-beam versions accurately measure fluids by minimizing the negative effects of swirl, viscosity, and other installation effects. Ultrasonic is one of the few technologies versatile enough to measure, not only liquids and gases, but also steam. Also, measurement without pressure drops can save significant pumping costs in applications requiring high pressure or long transport distances. And, unlike mechanical flowmeters, maintenance of ultrasonic flowmeters is simplified because they have no moving parts. As a result, ultrasonic flowmeters are impervious to issues that beset traditional flow technologies, such as the inevitable wear of orifice plates and bearing and rotor failures of turbine meters.

While shipments of ultrasonic flowmeters to Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) lead all regions, the North American market is expected to grow slightly faster. Much of this is due to pipeline infrastructure upgrades needed to meet increasing energy demand in the US. Not to be overshadowed by the U.S., however, EMEA will continue to grow as significant capital is invested in Western Europe to build new infrastructure to transport petroleum and natural gas from reservoirs in Russia to populated regions. The increasing adoption of ultrasonic technology provides opportunities for both ultrasonic suppliers and competing technologies.

“The endorsement of ultrasonic flowmeters by users will challenge traditional and ultrasonic flowmeter suppliers to introduce new products to stay competitive with users as the ultimate benefactor,” adds Chin. For more information about this study, visit www.arcweb.com/research/auto/ultra_level.asp .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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