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Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 4th Edition

Module A: Strategies, Industries, & Applications

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The DP Flowmeter Market

A complete statement of the DP flowmeter market should include the following:

  1. The value of DP transmitters used to measure flow
  2. The value of primary elements used in calculating flow
  3. For orifice plate flowmeters, the value of orifice fittings, flanges, and assemblies that form part of the meter

Once the value of these devices is taken into account, it should be possible to give an accurate value for the size of the DP flowmeter market.

The Importance of Primary Elements

Primary elements are an important part of the picture, not only because of their cost, but also because they greatly add to the versatility of DP flow measurement.  There are many different types of orifice plates, for example, that have different shaped orifices with different locations.  Flow nozzles are widely used for steam flow measurement.  And Venture tubes are suited for measuring high-speed gas flows, especially in the larger pipe sizes.

Anyone who wants to understand DP flow measurement should be aware of the different types of primary elements available, and should also be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each.  The table below gives a summary of the main types of primary elements, their applications, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Taking a New Look at DP Flow

DP flow is important because of its large installed base, its versatility, and because it is one of the most studied and best understood flow technologies.  DP flowmeters can be used to measure gas, steam, and liquid flows.  They have been around for more than 100 years, and have been studied by groups such as the American Gas Association and the American Petroleum Institute.  While some DP flowmeters are being replaced by new-technology meters, customers who prefer to stay with the tried and true are continuing to order DP flowmeters.  And companies such as Emerson Rosemount, Honeywell, Foxboro, Siemens, ABB, and others are continuing to bring out new and improved pressure transmitters.

Coming to a full appreciation of the true value of the DP flowmeter market will provide a more realistic understanding of where end-users are spending their flowmeter dollars.   And it will provide a better understanding of how DP flow stacks up against competing flowmeter types, both new-technology and traditional technology flowmeters.

Click to learn more about other technologies in:

More info on DP Flow:



Flowmeter Type

Liquid, Steam, or Gas

Line Size




DP-Orifice Plate

Liquid, Steam, Gas

inch and up

Low purchase price;

Easy to install; Well understood; Industry approvals

Limited rangeability;

Creates permanent pressure drop;

Uses square root method to calculate flowrate

Most traditional meter

DP-Venturi Tube

Liquid, Gas

2-30 inches

Cam be used for both clean and dirty liquids;

Can be difficult to install due to size

Larger sizes for gas

DP-Pitot Tube

Liquid, Gas

> 1 inch

Low cost;

Very little pressure drop

Low accuracy;

Limited sampling of flowrate

Measures flow only at one point

DP-Averaging Pitot Tube

Liquid, Gas

> 1 inch

Higher accuracy than single Pitot tube;

Virtually no pressure drop

Limited rangeability;

Not designed for dirty fluids

Also available as Annubar

DP Flow Nozzle


2-30 inches

Handles high velocity fluids well;

Performs better with dirty fluids better than orifice plate

High purchase price;

Not easily removed for inspection and cleaning

Widely used for steam flow measurement

For further information on differential pressure, including studies and articles, see www.FlowDP.com.

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