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The World Market for Coriolis Flowmeters, 5th Edition

Flow Research has concluded research for our 5th edition of the Coriolis study. Flow Research previously published Coriolis studies in 2001, 2003, 2008, and 2013.  The new edition of the study includes the segmentation included in earlier versions, and also introduces brand new segmentation. Read the overview for further information. 

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WEBINAR Learn about Coriolis Flowmeters Used to Measure Natural Gas and Oil Flow, presented by Dr. Jesse Yoder

Articles about Coriolis Flowmeters

The World Market for Coriolis Flowmeters, 4th Edition
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The World Market for Coriolis Flowmeters, 3rd Edition
Released in 2008 - Provides historical context

The World Market for Coriolis Flowmeters, 2nd Edition

Released in 2003 - Provides historical context

The World Market for Coriolis Flowmeters, 1st Edition
Released in 2001 - Provides historical perspective

Coriolis Update - March 2009: In October 2008, KROHNE launched its corrosion-resistant Tantalum version of its OPTIMASS 7300 Coriolis mass flowmeter. This meter is designed to handle the highly aggressive and corrosive fluids found in the chemical industry. The Tantalum has a straight-tube design.

Emerson Process Management unveiled its first 2-wire Coriolis flowmeter in September 2008. The new transmitter is called the Model 2200S, and it can be used with a variety of Elite Coriolis sensor tubes.

GE Sensing completed its acquisition of Rheonik in February 2008. Rheonik, based in Germany, has long been known as a supplier of large line size Coriolis flowmeters, namely size inches and up. GE Sensing had previously (in 2002) acquired Panametrics to become a significant player in the ultrasonic flowmeter market.

For more information on these and other events in the Coriolis flowmeter market, see our quarterly Market Barometer. The Market Barometer updates every flow technology every quarter. Go to www.worldflow.com for more details.

Overview of Coriolis Flowmeters

The French mathematician Gustave Coriolis formulated the principle that underlies Coriolis flowmeters. Coriolis showed in 1835 that an inertial force needs to be taken into account when the motion of bodies in a rotating frame of reference is described. The earth is often used as an example of the Coriolis force. A hypothetical object thrown from the North Pole to the equator appears to vary from its intended path, due to the earth’s rotation.

Coriolis flowmeters contain one or more vibrating tubes. These tubes are usually bent, although straight-tube meters are also available. The fluid to be measured passes through the vibrating tubes. It accelerates as it flows toward the maximum vibration point, and slows down as it leaves that point. This causes the tubes to twist. The amount of twisting is directly proportional to mass flow. Position sensors detect tube positions.

While the roots of today’s Coriolis flowmeters can be traced back to the 1950s, it was not until 1977 that Micro Motion introduced a commercially viable Coriolis flowmeter for industrial applications. Since that time, a number of other suppliers have entered the market, including Endress+Hauser and Krohne. Coriolis suppliers have introduced a wide variety of models and types of Coriolis flowmeters in the past 35 years.

Coriolis suppliers differentiate themselves in a number of ways. One is by the proprietary design of the bent tubes in their Coriolis flowmeters. Another is by the different types of straight tube Coriolis flowmeters that are offered. Suppliers also compete by bringing out Coriolis flowmeters for particular industries and applications, such as food & beverage and pharmaceutical. Accuracy and other performance specifications are other areas of supplier differentiation.

While Coriolis flowmeters are loved by many end-users, price is often an issue. Coriolis flowmeters are the most expensive meter made, in terms of average selling price. The average selling price of Coriolis flowmeters are between $5,000 and $6,000. Some suppliers have introduced low-cost Coriolis flowmeters in the $3,000 range. Performance specifications for the lower-cost flowmeters are not at the same level as those of the higher-priced meters. However, these lower-cost meters can help satisfy the needs of users who want the essential benefits of Coriolis technology but prefer not to pay the higher price.

Custody Transfer of Natural Gas is a Potential Boom Market for Coriolis Meters

Custody transfer of natural gas is a fast-growing market, especially with the increased popularity of natural gas as an energy source. Natural gas changes hands, or ownership, at a number of points between the producer and the end-user. These transfers occur at custody transfer points, and are tightly regulated by standards groups such as the American Gas Association (AGA). Other geographic regions have their own regulatory bodies.

One important function of the AGA and the American Petroleum Institute (API) is to lay down standards or criteria for sellers and buyers to follow when transferring ownership of natural gas and petroleum liquids from one party to another. In the past, these groups have published reports on the use of orifice plate meters and turbine meters for use in the custody transfer of natural gas. The importance of these reports is illustrated by the example of ultrasonic flowmeters. In the mid-1990s, a European association of natural gas producers called Groupe Europeen de Recherche GaziSres (GERG) issued a report laying out criteria to govern the use of ultrasonic flowmeters in the custody transfer of natural gas. This resulted in a substantial boost in the sales of ultrasonic flowmeters for this purpose in Europe . In June 1998, the AGA issued AGA Report 9, which also gave criteria for using ultrasonic flowmeters in natural gas custody transfer situations. This caused a substantial boost in the sales of these meters for that purpose, especially in the United States . The market for using ultrasonic meters to measure natural gas for custody transfer is the fastest growing segment of the flowmeter market.

The AGA approved a report on the use of Coriolis flowmeters for custody transfer of natural gas in 2003. This report is called AGA-11. This report partially explains the overall positive growth rate of Coriolis flowmeters, as users begin to use them for natural gas custody transfer applications. Even though it often takes some time for end-users to adopt a new technology, this report has provided a significant boost to the use of Coriolis flowmeters for natural gas flow measurement.

Growth in Coriolis Meters for Larger Line Sizes

More than any other meter, Coriolis meters have line size limitations. Due to the nature of the technology, Coriolis meters get large and unwieldy once they reach the six-inch size. Even two-inch, three-inch, and four-inch meters are quite large. Four-inch meters represent only about two percent of Coriolis meters sold worldwide, and even fewer six-inch meters are sold. Close to 70 percent of Coriolis meters sold are in the 0 to 1 inch diameter ranges.

How will the larger size meters grow? One way is exemplified by Rheonik. Rheonik, now a part of GE Sensing, has put together two six-inch Coriolis meters to create a meter that can handle larger line sizes. While it has sold a very limited number of these meters, it does represent an interesting and creative way to deal with the line size issue. Perhaps lighter materials or other technological advances will make it possible to create more manageable Coriolis meters with large diameters. A similar innovation was used in making straight tube meters: most straight tube metes are made from titanium. Any progress in this area is likely to be welcomed by customers who would like to have a smaller and more compact Coriolis flowmeter with diameters above two inches.

Other companies that have introduced Coriolis flowmeters for line sizes above six inches include Endress+Hauser, KROHNE, and Micro Motion. There is definitely a trend among Coriolis suppliers towards offering flowmeters for the larger line sizes.

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