In 2020, the global ultrasonic flowmeter market was valued at USD 650.7 million and was projected to reach USD 876.9 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2021 to 2027. Ultrasonic flowmeters use ultrasonic technology to measure the flow rate of fluids, for example, liquids and gases. They are fundamentally based on transit-time and doppler technology that transmit and receive sound waves to determine the velocity of the fluid flowing in a pipe. The velocity of a fluid is interpreted to calculate the flow rate of a liquid. Compared to other types of flowmeters, ultrasonic flowmeters offer various benefits. It is a non-invasive flow measurement system; transducers do not directly contact the process fluid and do not obstruct the fluid flow. They are ideal for measuring abrasive and corrosive chemicals. Ultrasonic flowmeters are available in mounting types as well as portable flowmeters.
Demand for ultrasonic flowmeters in the oil & gas industry for custody transfer application is the major driver for increasing the global ultrasonic flowmeter market demand. A high degree of accuracy is imperative to establish the quantity of a product that has been transported. Even the smallest amount of measurement error can be expensive for receivers. Ultrasonic flowmeters are available for custody transfer applications for as accurate as 0.1%. Therefore, accurate metering provided by ultrasonic technology has led to commercial confidence and helped reduce custody transfer disputes; hence it is massively adopted in oil & gas operations. Also, demand for non-invasive measuring systems in wastewater management, power generation, and chemical industries has increased the adoption of ultrasonic flowmeters.
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In the wastewater treatment industry, flowmeters are employed for monitoring the flow of effluents and dosing chemicals. There are various types of flowmeters currently used in wastewater treatment plants. Water mostly contains a lot of suspended solids, which could clog mechanical flowmeters. In addition, clamp-on flowmeters are replacing traditional flowmeters without directly contacting the process fluid. This factor drives demand for ultrasonic flowmeters in the wastewater management industry. In addition, the global market for wastewater management is expected to rise during the forecast period, majorly owing to upcoming industrial expansion in various countries and the growth of the residential housing sector. Water pollution has become a major concern in many countries and is set to attract investments in wastewater treatment during the forecast period. All such factors drive demand for ultrasonic flowmeters.
COVID-19 Impact on the Global Ultrasonic Flow Meter Market
The COVID-19 pandemic negatively disrupted the major end-users of ultrasonic flowmeters, thus reducing new ultrasonic flowmeter installations. During the pandemic, the oil & gas industry was one of the worst-hit sectors as transportation restrictions decreased demand for crude oil products from the automotive and aerospace industries. A decline in demand for petrol and diesel reduced oil & gas custody transfer activity in major countries. Similarly, developments in wastewater management projects such as new sewage treatment plants had to be put on halt due to scarcity of human resources.
However, the global pharmaceutical industry witnessed a surge in growth owing to increased investments in private and public health sectors. Increased focus on domestic production of critical pharmaceutical ingredients is anticipated to augment the commissioning of new pharmaceutical manufacturing plants during the forecast period. In addition, the global aerospace sector is still in its recovery phase, which has decreased the demand for process instrumentation.
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Global Ultrasonic Flow Meter Market Dynamics
Drivers: Use of ultrasonic flowmeters in oil & gas custody transfer applications
Custody transfer is the transfer of oil & gas materials from one point to another. It is a transaction between two parties; hence an accurate measurement of fluid being transferred is of utmost importance. Accurate measurement can avoid disputes between two parties. An ultrasonic flowmeter, a non-invasive technology with high accuracy, is considered ideal for such applications. In addition, ultrasonic flowmeters are specifically designed for custody transfer by rugged construction and meeting strict quality requirements set by authorities. Furthermore, they are equipped with electronics to correct changes in temperature and pressure, thus increasing their accuracy and reliability. All the above factors have increased demand for non-invasive flow measurement equipment such as ultrasonic flowmeters in the oil & gas industry.
Restraints: High Initial costs and performance limitations
Ultrasonic flowmeters are high-tech instruments consisting of various integrated circuits and control systems, which, in turn, increase their cost. Costs are also higher due to the use of expensive acoustic parts. Moreover, in case of flowmeter failure, experts skilled in electronics repairing are required, increasing maintenance costs. In terms of performance, there are certain limitations of ultrasonic flowmeters. It can only be used for measuring liquids that pass ultrasonic energy through them. Electromagnetic flowmeter, Coriolis flowmeter, variable area, differential pressure flowmeter, and vortex flowmeters are major alternatives to ultrasonic flowmeters. This wide range of availability of alternative equipment and the high cost of ultrasonic flowmeters is anticipated to hamper the adoption of ultrasonic flowmeters in the long run.
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Opportunities: New product developments
Product developments offer fresh opportunities for the growth of the ultrasonic flowmeter market. Newer ultrasonic flowmeters are designed to deliver more accuracy and provide operational flexibility. In 2020, Endress+Hauser AG launched its Prosonic Flow G 300/500 series of ultrasonic gas flowmeters for demanding applications in the oil & gas and chemical industries. It has a robust industrial design for process temperatures of up to 150 °C and pressures up to 100 bars. It is provided with advanced gas analysis functions to calculate additional process variables, and the sensor is condensate-insensitive for measuring moist or wet gases. Developments could be in components of flowmeters or software that increases its reliability. For instance, in 2020, Emerson released Daniel T-200, a titanium-housed transducer, for its gas ultrasonic flow meter product line. It was made using metal 3D printing to improve the acoustic performance of ultrasonic flowmeters in custody transfer applications. In addition, the transducer improved uptime, safety, and reliability. Such developments and new product launches boost the global ultrasonic flowmeter market.
Scope of the Report
The study categorizes the ultrasonic flow meter market based on transducer type, technology, and end-users at the regional and global levels.
By Transducer Type Outlook (Sales, USD Million, 2017-2027)
- Spool piece
By Technology Outlook (Sales, USD Million, 2017-2027)
By End-User Outlook (Sales, USD Million, 2017-2027)
- Water & wastewater management
- Oil & gas
- Power generation
By Region Outlook (Sales, USD Million, 2017-2027)
- North America (US, Canada, Mexico)
- South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Rest of Latin America)
- Europe (Germany, Italy, France, UK, Spain, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Rest of Europe)
- Asia Pacific (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia & New Zealand, Rest of Asia Pacific)
- The Middle East & Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa, Northern Africa, Rest of MEA)
By type, the clamp-on segment is accounted for the largest market share
On the basis of product type, the global ultrasonic flowmeter market is categorized into spool piece, inline, clamp-on, and others. In 2020, The clamp-on segment was the highest contributor to the market with a share of 45.7%. Clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters have become a preferred type in the oil & gas industry to measure the flow rate of various inlet and outlet streams. In addition, as it is available in Doppler and transit-time, it is used in all end-use industries. Clamp-on flowmeters are portable and measure volume flow in industrial applications outside the pipe wall without any inline operation. This feature has increased its demand in various end-use industries as a clamp-on can be installed temporarily or permanently within hours without stopping the plant. Most flowmeters are inline and require machinery to be dismantled, whereas clamp-on can be installed at any location and with zero process contamination.
Europe accounts for the highest CAGR during the forecast period
Region-wise, the ultrasonic flowmeter market is analyzed across North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, South America, and the Middle East & Africa. Globally, Europe is estimated to hold the highest CAGR of 5.3% in the global ultrasonic flow meter market during the forecast period. The Europe ultrasonic flowmeter market is studied across Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the Rest of Europe. These countries contribute significantly to the European Union (EU), thus taking leading positions in the European ultrasonic flowmeter market.
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Europe, Germany, France, and the UK are the major industrial players contributing significantly to the European ultrasonic flowmeter market. Many global chemical companies, pharmaceutical, mining companies, and oil refineries in these countries contribute significantly to the GDP. These countries are also investing proactively in the power generation sector based on hydroelectric and nuclear power. New power generation plants or chemical manufacturing plants require the installation of flow measurement devices such as ultrasonic flowmeters, among other process instrumentation. Such developments tend to benefit the adoption of ultrasonic flowmeters during the forecast period.
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Key Market Players
Major companies operating in the ultrasonic flowmeter market include Baker Hughes Company, Emerson Electric Co., Badger Meter Inc., Endress+Hauser AG, Fuji Electric Co. Ltd., Faure Herman, Honeywell International Inc., Siemens AG, Spectris PLC, and Krohne. Every company follows its business strategy to attain the maximum market share.