Installed Base of Flowmeters by Type

A recent survey of Flow Control readers shows differential-pressure (DP) flowmeters possess, by far, the largest installed base among users, while newer technology types, such as magnetic and Coriolis, are receiving significant uptake for certain applications. The survey, which was performed via an e-mail questionnaire sent to 30,000 Flow Control subscribers on three separate occasions, was conducted by Flow Research ( and Venture Development Corporation ( It examined flowmeter installed base, applications, purchasing expectations, popular features, output signals, communication protocols, and the characteristics on which users typically base purchasing decisions. The study, titled Worldwide Flowmeter User Survey, 2nd Edition, is an update of a similar user study Flow Research published in 2000.

Total Shipments of Magnetic Flowmeters Worldwide
(Millions of Dollars)

Figure 1 shows that DP flowmeters dominate the flowmeter landscape, as was the case in 2000. The second most popular flowmeter type, in terms of installed base, is magnetic, followed by Coriolis, turbine, and positive-displacement.

According to Flow Research’s study The Global Market for Magnetic Flowmeters, 3rd Edition, the worldwide magnetic flowmeter market equaled $710 million in 2004 and will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.1 percent to reach $910 million by 2009 (Figure 2).

In many applications, Flow Research says magnetic flowmeters are displacing DP, positive-displacement, and turbine meters. Magnetic flowmeters do not have moving parts that are subject to wear over time, which Flow Research cites as one of the key reasons magnetic technology is generating appeal among users of positive-displacement and turbine meters. Meanwhile, Flow Research says magnetic flowmeters are gaining interest from users of differential-pressure meters because they do not rely on a primary element for flow measurement, thus lessening the occurrence of pressure loss in the flow stream.

According to Flow Research, the primary limitation to growth for magnetic flowmeter technology is the inability to measure the flow of nonconductive fluids, particularly gases and steam.