Level measurement, tank gauging sectors grow, diversify

Cost containment by clients, plant automation to improve accuracy, and demand for pharmaceuticals by aging baby boomers are some primary factors driving projected single-digit increases in U.S. process level measurement (PLM) and inventory tank gauging (ITG) markets through 2002, according to a recent market study.

By Staff April 1, 1999

Cost containment by clients, plant automation to improve accuracy, and demand for pharmaceuticals by aging baby boomers are some primary factors driving projected single-digit increases in U.S. process level measurement (PLM) and inventory tank gauging (ITG) markets through 2002, according to a recent market study.

The report, “The U.S. Level Measurement and Inventory Tank Gauging Industry, Sixth Edition,” by Venture Development Corp. (VDC, Natick, Mass.), forecasts the PLM market will grow from $372 million in shipments during 1997 to approximately $433 million in 2002, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1%.

While its chemical and petrochemical, petroleum, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical components made up 65% of the PLM market in 1997, these four pieces are expected to account for more than 82% of the market’s gains in 2002.

Similarly, the U.S. ITG market is expected to grow from $85 million in 1997 to approximately $111 million in 2002, a CAGR of 5.4%. ITG’s chemical and petrochemical, petroleum, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical parts account for about 92% of the total market, and their share is expected to grow to 93% of 2002’s market gains.

Component increases

Already the largest contributors to PLM and ITG markets, the chemical and petrochemical fields are expected to deliver the greatest gains to these markets through 2002. VDC states increasing global competition is holding down prices and inspiring manufacturers to restrain costs to maintain margins. The report adds resulting cost containment efforts are spurring investments in better process control and inventory equipment.

Meanwhile, U.S. refinery closings and shifts to international locations in the petroleum field will likely cause below average growth among petroleum’s PLM and ITG applications.

Expected to have slightly above average PLM and ITG increases, the food and beverage market is driven by the need for more automation and greater accuracy. The report says food and beverage has lagged somewhat in adopting automation in the past.

Pharmaceuticals are projected to generate the most PLM and ITG growth from 1997 through 2002. For example, while drugmaking applications made up less than 5% of the PLM sector in 1997, they’re expected to account for 10% of forecasted market gains. Likewise, pharmaceuticals took up only 7% of 1997’s ITG market, but will likely account for 15% of the market’s increase. Swelling demand from an increasing elderly population and faster drug developments, approvals, and introductions will likely result in more capital investment in PLM and ITG systems.

Diverse PLM suppliers

With an estimated 1998 value of $383 million, the overall PLM market is made up of five primary suppliers: Magnetrol (Downers Grove, Ill.), Rosemount (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Milltronics (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada), Endress+Hauser (Greenwood, Ind.), and Gem Sensors (Plainville, Conn.), according to the report.

For more information, visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .

U.S. Process Level Measurement and Inventory Tank Gauging Market Projectionsby consuming industry segment (in millions of $)

Consuming industry
1997
2002 projection
$ gain
% of total gain

Source: Control Engineering with data from Venture Development Corp.

Process Level Measurement

Chemical and petrochemical
124.4
153.1
28.7
46.4

Petroleum (includes refineries)
57.9
66.5
8.6
13.9

Food and beverage
40.6
48.2
7.6
12.3

Pharmaceutical
18.2
24.2
6.0
9.7

Other
130.4
141.3
10.9
17.7

Total
371.5
433.3
61.8
100.0

Inventory Tank Gauging

Consuming industry
1997
2002 projection
$ gain
% of total gain

Chemical and petrochemical
34.3
44.7
10.4
40.5

Petroleum (includes refineries)
26.6
33.9
6.3
24.5

Food and beverage
10.0
13.2
3.2
12.5

Pharmaceutical
6.3
10.3
4.0
15.6

Other
7.1
8.9
1.8
7.0

Total
85.3
111.0
25.7
100.0