Flow Sensors Summary

The global market for flow sensors has rebounded after the recession of 2009 and is expected to grow at a steady rate. Major industries using these sensors are the process industries, the discrete manufacturing industries, the automotive and aircraft sector, the building and the medical sector.

 

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Summary

Flow sensors measure the flow of liquids, viscous media, slurries, steam, gases, air or bulk solid materials. The global market for flow sensors has rebounded after the recession of 2009 and is expected to grow at a steady rate. Major industries using these sensors are the process industries, the discrete manufacturing industries, the automotive and aircraft sector, the building and the medical sector. The process industries as well as the automotive sector represent the leading markets for flow sensors. Other major markets are the building sector, aircraft and shipbuilding, the medical sector as well as all types of professional devices. Oil and gas pipeline systems, too, are an important market for flow meters.


Flow sensors have become smarter through the introduction of microcontrollers, enabling self-diagnosis capability, remote two-way communication and other smart functions. The demand for mass flow meters is growing steadily; so is the demand for flow meters working in harsh environments.

The demand for automotive flow sensors is expected to grow. They are used for engine control, exhaust gas recirculation, and optional for secondary air injection control. They can also be used for breath control in electronic engine immobilizers.

The process industries, too, are a major user of flow sensors. They find diverse applications within the oil & gas sector, in refineries, chemical plants, power plants, the pulp & paper industry, the metal and construction materials sector and in wastewater treatment plants. The trend is towards smarter flow sensors with self-diagnostic and digital communication capabilities. Many flow sensors in the process industries must be robust and rugged for use in  harsh environments. Especially in the oil & gas industry, there is a growing demand for multi-phase flow meters.

In the medical sector, flow sensors are not only used in infusion pumps and heart-lung machines but also for respiration equipment in intensive care, as well as in anesthetic equipment. The building sector, too, has a high and growing demand for flow sensors in air conditioning systems and clean rooms.

Over the years, flow sensors have evolved in terms of sensitivity, reliability, compactness and versatility, as a consequence of an ever-growing need for enhanced technology. An overall trend away from traditional flow meter technologies towards flow meters based on rather new technologies such as Coriolis, ultrasonic and thermal measurement principles can be observed.

Conclusion

The global market for flow sensors was impacted significantly by the recent economic recession during the years 2008-09. With the crisis hitting all major OEM and end-user industries, growth in the market remained relatively flat during these years. However, as demand rebounded in 2010, mainly from the automotive, office, building and industrial markets, the pre-crisis growth level has reemerged for these markets.

 

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