The ultrasonic flowmeter market is a fast-growing market with over 50 suppliers worldwide. With so many suppliers, it is not surprising that the landscape of this market has changed significantly in the past several years.

In January 2006, NuFlo Measurement Systems, a division of Cameron
(www.c-a-m.com), acquired Caldon Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pa. While Caldon mainly supplies ultrasonic flowmeters to the nuclear industry, the company has begun to expand into the process industries. Then, in May 2006, Siemens (www.siemens.com) purchased Controlotron, a company that is mainly known for its clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters. In February 2007, IDEX Corporation (www.idexcorp.com) acquired Faure Herman (www.faureherman.com), a French manufacturer of an 18-path ultrasonic flowmeter for liquid applications. More recently, in January 2008, IDEX purchased ADS LLC (www.adsenv.com), which specializes in environmental services for the water & wastewater industry. Included in the ADS portfolio is Accusonic (www.accusonic.com), a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of multi-path transit-time ultrasonic flowmeters for water applications.

Since ultrasonic flowmeters began to be used in industrial markets in the 1970s, many technological improvements have been made. Initially, transit-time flowmeters were used for clean liquids, while Doppler flowmeters were used for dirty liquids. In the past 20 years, improvements in electronic processing technology have enabled transit-time flowmeters to handle a wider range of fluids, including those that are not completely clean. This has led to increased use of transit-time flowmeters at the expense of Doppler meters. Suppliers have also significantly increased the accuracy of transit-time meters during this time.

Ultrasonic flowmeters are also being more widely used to measure process gas and flare gas. Insertion meters are used to measure flare gas in stacks, and ultrasonic flowmeters are used more widely in the chemical and refining industries. While the growth of ultrasonic meters to measure process and flare gases is not as rapid as the growth of multi-path meters for custody transfer of natural gas, it is still an important factor in the overall growth of ultrasonic meters.

Analysis provided by Flow Research (www.flowresearch.com). For more information, visit Flow Research’s Web portal www.FlowUltrasonic.com.