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Articles about Ultrasonic Flowmeters

Previous Studies:

The World Market for Ultrasonic Flowmeters, 4th Edition  

The World Market for Ultrasonic Flowmeters, 3rd Edition
Published 2008

The World Market for Ultrasonic Flowmeters, 2nd Edition (2003)
Provides historical perspective

The World Market for Ultrasonic Flowmeters, 1st Edition (2001)
Provides historical perspective

Important Events in the Ultrasonic Flowmeter Market 2008-2012
Interkama 2008 KROHNE introduces ALTOSONIC V-6, which is designed for non-custody transfer gas flow measurement
2009 KROHNE introduces ALTOSONIC V-12, which is designed for custody transfer gas flow measurement. The V-12 has 12 chords.
August 2009 GE Sensing releases SENTINEL LCT (Liquid Custody Transfer) and SENTINEL LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas)
April 2010 Siemens releases the FUT1010, an ultrasonic flowmeter for the hydrocarbon industry; available for both gas and liquids
Q4 2010 Elis Plzen adds the FLOWMIC and SONOELIS to its ultrasonic water industry line
May 2011 Emerson Daniel introduces the 3812 Liquid Ultrasonic Flowmeter
May 2011 Elster introduces the Q.Sonic Plus Ultrasonic Flowmeter at the American Gas Association (AGA) Conference in Nashville, TN. The Q.Sonic Plus has six paths and 16 chords.
October 2011 Cameron (Caldon) displays its new eight-path LEFM380Ci gas flowmeter for custody transfer at the North Sea Workshop in Norway
Janauary 2012 Badger Meter acquires Racine Federated
May 2012 KROHNE introduces its OPTISONIC 7300 Ultrasonic Flowmeter for process gas applications
June 2012 Melrose PLC acquires Elster Group

More Developments...

A number of important developments occurred in the ultrasonic flowmeter market in the past several years:

Titan Enterprises, which is based in the United Kingdom, unveiled a new ultrasonic flowmeter in April 2010. Called the Atrato, it is especially effective on low flows.

In April 2010, Siemens released the FUT1010, a new ultrasonic flowmeter for the hydrocarbon industry. It is available for both gases and hydrocarbon liquids.

GE Sensing announced the release of the Sentinel LCT and the Sentinel LNG in August 2009. The Sentinel LCT is designed for custody transfer of crude oil and refined products. The Sentinel LNG measures Liquefied Natural Gas.

In September 2008, Blue-White Industries began shipping its new clamp-on Sonic-Pro® ultrasonic flowmeters. Previously, the only type of flowmeter manufactured by Blue-White was variable area. The Sonic-Pro is a hybrid flowmeter that is selectable between transit time and Doppler technologies.

In August 2008, Siemens announced the release of a new SITRANS F US standalone thickness gauge. This gauge measures the wall thickness of any metallic of non-metallic pipe, which is a crucial measurement for clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters. The output form the F US thickness gauge is entered into a flow computer, and is used in calculating flowrate.

In April 2008 at Interkama in Germany, KROHNE released a new series of ultrasonic gas flowmeters for non-custody transfer applications. The OPTISONIC V6 was developed for applications in the production of natural gas and for gas suppliers' city gates and transfer stations. It can also be used in offshore platforms. The OPTISONIC Vs is a six-path flowmeter.

IDEX Corp. purchased ADS LLC in January 2008, including its ultrasonic division. The Accusonic line includes multipath ultrasonic flowmeters for hydroelectric penstocks, and large pipe and channel systems for cooling water and condenser water lines.

For more information on these and other important developments in the ultrasonic flowmeter market, see the Market Barometer, a quarterly publication by Flow Research. (www.worldflow.com)

Overview of Ultrasonic Flowmeter Technology

There are two main types of ultrasonic flowmeters: transit time and Doppler. A transit time ultrasonic flowmeters has both a sender and a receiver. It sends two ultrasonic signals across a pipe at an angle: one with the flow, and one against the flow. The meter then measures the “transit time” of each signal. When the ultrasonic signal travels with the flow, it travels faster than when it travels against the flow. The difference between the two transit times is proportional to flowrate.

Doppler flowmeters also send an ultrasonic signal across a pipe. Instead of tracking the time the signal takes to cross to the other side, a Doppler flowmeter relies on having the signal deflected by particles in the flowstream. These particles are traveling at the same speed as the flow. As the signal passes through the stream, its frequency shifts in proportion to the mean velocity of the fluid. A receiver detects the reflected signal and measures its frequency. The meter calculates flow by comparing the generated and detected frequencies. Doppler ultrasonic flowmeters are used with dirty liquids or slurries. They are not used to measure gas flow.

Ultrasonic flowmeters were first introduced for industrial use in 1963 by Tokyo Keiki (which later became Tokimec) in Japan. Tokimec is located in Tokyo, Japan. In 1972, Controlotron (Hauppauge, New York) became the first U.S. manufacturer to market ultrasonic flowmeters in the United States. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, both Panametrics (Waltham, Massachusetts) and Ultraflux (Poissy Cedex, France) experimented with the use of ultrasonic flowmeters to measure gas flow. Initially, ultrasonic flowmeters were not well understood, and were sometimes misapplied. Many technological improvements have been made in the past 10 years, and the limitations of ultrasonic meters are better understood. Advances in transit time technology have broadened the types of liquids that transit time flowmeters can be used on. Many transit time meters today can handle liquids containing some impurities.

Many Changes Occurred from 2003 to 2008

Many changes have occurred in the ultrasonic flowmeter market since the 2nd edition of this study was published in March 2003.

GE Sensing. GE Sensing has continued to improve its clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter for gas applications that was first introduced in September 2001. In March 2004, GE Infrastructure released a major update to this meter. The company also released the Sentinel, a multipath ultrasonic meter designed for custody transfer of natural gas, in October 2004

At the ISA show in October 2007, GE Sensing introduced its PanaFlowTM ISX, the newest portion of GE’s ultrasonic line-up. These devices are designed for applications in the oil & gas, power generation, and water industries, and in a wide variety of liquids including chemicals, solvents, weak acids, water, petroleum products, lubricating oils, and hydrocarbons. The firm claims that the compact design makes it easier, and thus less costly, to install in hazardous locations. Bidirectional flows can be measured in pipe sizes ranging from 4-24 inches, with a stated accuracy of ±0.5%. Power is via 2-wire loop.

Controlotron. During this period, Controlotron maintained its focus on the clamp-on transit time ultrasonic flowmeter market. The most significant event of this period for Controlotron was its sale to Siemens in May 2006. The company has been renamed Siemens Energy & Automation Process Instrumentation Business Unit.

Instromet. Instromet expanded its Q-Sonic 3 and Q-Sonic 4 models, both of which are used for custody transfer of natural gas. These improvements include relocating the transducers to the upper side of the meter, and introducing a Coded Multiple Burst (CMD) signal that improves meter performance in hostile situations.

KROHNE. While KROHNE has not traditionally expanded its product line through acquisition, the company was very active in introducing new products during this period. In August 2003, KROHNE brought out the Altosonic III, a 3-path meter designed for liquid applications. The Altonsonic III is a cousin of the Altosonic V, which is designed for custody transfer of liquids. Early in 2004, KROHNE formed an alliance with SICK, allowing it to bring out the Altosonic IV, a meter designed for gas applications. The Altosonic IV is a version of the SICK MAIHAK ultrasonic flowmeter. KROHNE was also very active in the Coriolis and magnetic flowmeter markets during this time.

Emerson Process Management. Emerson Process’ ultrasonic flowmeters are part of the Daniel division. Emerson Process is a leading supplier of ultrasonic flowmeters for custody transfer of natural gas. In November 2004, Emerson Process announced a series of upgrades to its line of SeniorSonic and JuniorSonic ultrasonic flowmeters for gas flow measurement. The upgrades include the capability of acquiring live gas composition data from a gas chromatograph and the real-time calculation of speed of sound. In June 2006, Emerson Process launched the Model 3804, a liquid ultrasonic meter designed for fiscal metering applications.

Siemens. Siemens first introduced its ultrasonic flowmeter, the FUS, in 1997. In September 2003, it acquired the flow division of Danfoss, including Danfoss’ series of SONOFLO ultrasonic flowmeters. Then in May 2006, Siemens completed the acquisition of Controlotron, a leading supplier of ultrasonic clamp-on flowmeters. Siemens is now selling all these flowmeters, including the Controlotron meters, as part of its F US Series of ultrasonic flowmeters.

Other companies. The acquisition of Caldon by Cameron Measurement Systems is very significant. Cameron is one of the world’s leading suppliers of valves, and a major supplier to the oil & gas industry. It is also significant that Sierra Instruments and George Fischer have entered the ultrasonic flowmeter market. Because the ultrasonic flowmeter market is growing so rapidly, more new suppliers can be expected to enter this market.

Flow Research, Inc. | 27 Water Street | Wakefield, MA 01880 | (781) 245-3200 | (781) 224-7552 (fax) | (800) 245-1799 (from the USA) | info@flowresearch.com

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