From the outside looking in, the Coriolis flow meter industry looks quite diverse, with seemingly dozens of players involved. However, a closer examination reveals that the industry is quite small, largely defined by the innovations of a couple of manufacturers. Other manufacturers ostensibly “choose a side” by emulating the established designs of those industry leaders.
We don’t hide the fact that we only develop measurement solutions based on Rheonik brand Coriolis meters. We hope that by providing some insight into the industry, we can better explain why we choose Rheonik over all others.
TOP 3 CORIOLIS MASS FLOW METER MANUFACTURERS BY MARKET SHARE
Micro Motion / Emerson
Emerson Electric is an enormous international conglomerate which seeks out large projects for which they can package together as many instruments produced by their stable of subsidiaries as possible, to complement their plant control systems.
Micro Motion, founded in the 1970s was one of the first manufacturers of Coriolis flow meters, and in fact invented and patented the bent-tube design which long defined the market. Micro Motion was acquired by Emerson, and at one time controlled 80% or more of the market. However, that share has been eroded over the past decade, as their meters rely on a design that is approaching 50 years in age, and has been since surpassed. Emerson/Micro Motion controls roughly 45% of the Coriolis flow meter market now.
Endress+Hauser is a Swiss-based instrumentation conglomerate. A couple decades ago, E+H developed a semi-bent tube design, and specifically sought to leverage this in the development of their Promass instruments. With this new design, they went after a chunk of Emerson’s market share, and were successful in these efforts. They are now the second largest Coriolis flow meter manufacturer in the world. Interestingly, several Micro Motion patents ran out recently and E+H almost immediately released new models that have a Micro Motion-style bent-tube design.
KROHNE is another conglomerate, based in Germany, which develops and supplies instrumentation solutions in a variety of industries. They have made a name for themselves in the Coriolis flow meter industry for their straight-tube designs. Their marketing efforts have made them probably the third-ranking player in the market. However, the design has some shortfalls due to the inherent nature of how the Coriolis effect works (in short, the use of curved tubes helps to magnify the measurement of tube distortion and obtain more accurate measurements, a benefit their straight-tube design lacks). But KROHNE’s meters are quite low in cost, and this has helped them subsume maybe 10% of the global market.
RHEONIK – WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT THAN OTHER CORIOLIS METER MANUFACTURERS?
Rheonik is a standalone company that makes only Coriolis flow meters. Their products cover the full range of needs, from extremely low flow laboratory equipment to massive meters for industrial and petrochemical applications. Because of this specialization, they are also only company innovating new designs alongside investing in improving upon past designs. For instance, they have recently introduced new Coriolis flow meters that can operate in high pressure applications (up to 20,000psi). Past innovations have included high temperature operation and exotic materials of construction, along with great flexibility in process connection sizes and types for demanding niche applications.
In addition, the Rheonik isn’t constrained by the need to adhere to a corporate look and feel. This means that their meter designs can be user intuitive, and housings can be made to fit a specific purpose, rather than being adapted from housings used for other instruments “for cost reasons.”
As you can see in the above descriptions of the companies currently dominating the Coriolis flow meter industry, none of the ‘big names’ are specialists—they are conglomerates invested in many different industries and types of technology. Their mass flow meters are a part of a vast catalog of often unrelated products. The result has been industry-wide stagnation.
These companies can afford to barely squeak out a profit on their meters, but this doesn’t allow or drive them to invest in improving their underlying meter technology. This is evidenced by Siemens—they invested heavily in meter manufacturing, and ultimately sold that capability off when they couldn’t earn back their investment. Micro Motion’s stagnation—and subsequent loss of market share—is also a product of their parent company, Emerson, having to tighten the belt and not invest in their products.
The marketplace is being dominated by falling margins and products which exist to fill a place in a product catalog. With low-cost meters flowing in from China, we expect to see a lot of turmoil and consolidation in this space. Companies entering this market are lured by reports of rising adoption of Coriolis flow technology across all industries and while it is true that Coriolis meter sales is a growing sector, companies who come into the market with me-too products are just not making inroads against the established players. Those who innovate are able to establish themselves in markets where others are not present
Nobody can keep up with or duplicate Rheonik’s efforts, because they can’t afford to. Rheonik Coriolis flow meters are truly unique in terms of their quality and range of applications, and that is why South Fork Instruments relies solely on Rheonik for their mass flow measurement solutions.
But if you’re still curious as to what other companies are currently active in the Coriolis flow meter industry, below you can find brief descriptions of just about every other company in the world that manufactures or markets Coriolis meters.
SECONDARY & TERTIARY CORIOLIS METER MANUFACTURERS
ABB Group is a very large Swiss company operating in multiple fields, including electrical infrastructure, electrical motors and generators, robotics, and more. While their Coriolis flow meters are reasonably priced and known to work well enough, this represents a very small segment of their operations. Consequently, their support is lacking, and their sales network is in flux. Their current meter designs largely duplicate the efforts of Micro Motion and Endress+Hauser.
ALIA Group Inc.
Aliagroup is a 20-year old Indian firm which introduced their line of Coriolis meters around 2018. Initially, their products were copycats of Micro Motion designs, but they have rapidly improved their efforts and are considered perhaps one of the “better” Asian manufacturers of Coriolis meters at the moment. But the quality of their manufacture may be an issue, and support is often spotty at best with Asian manufacturers.
Badger Meter is a manufacturer of a “me-too” Coriolis meter. Anecdotal information suggests that performance is so-so, but fortunately with a sales volume of near zero, there are very few companies saddled with their products. The company seems to be continually going through a significant amount of internal turmoil, and support for their meters is almost non-existent.
Evidence of the rather intimate nature of this industry, Brooks Instrument is a spinout from Emerson’s Process Management subsidiary. Brooks manufactures the Quantim line of mass flow controllers and meters, which are only designed for very low flow applications. Their presence in the low-flow niche is why Micro Motion opted some years ago to not design low-flow meters in this range.
FMC Technologies Inc. / TechnipFMC
While the FMC Technologies name is still reasonably well known, in 2017 the company merged with Technip S.A., a French engineering company, forming TechnipFMC. FMC does not actually manufacture their own Coriolis meters, but instead rebrands meters manufactured by Endress+Hauser.
Graco—no relation to the Graco baby products company—is an American fluid-handling systems company that only produces a very limited range of small Coriolis flow meters. Their light investment in meter technology is due to their focus in paint solutions. The majority of their mass flow meters are incorporated into their own equipment.
KOBOLD’s product line was previously developed and sold by Heinrichs Messtechnik, which KOBOLD bought out a few years ago. Before that, they did have a relationship with FCI but it’s not thought to have been very successful. Their meters are generally regarded to be at the bottom-end of the Coriolis product spectrum.
Malema exclusively produces laboratory-type Coriolis flow meters for the semiconductor and biopharmaceutical industries and they don’t play in the process market.
Omega is actually a catalog house which sells rebranded Coriolis flow meters made by other manufacturers under their own brand. There is often a fair amount of confusion about their products, as Rheonik prominently markets their ‘Omega tube design,’ and Omega Engineering uses the prefix ‘FMC-’ on their meter models, inviting confusion with FMC Technologies.
OVAL is a Japanese company that manufacturers mechanical gear meters, as well as three models of Coriolis flow meters in varying sizes. While the company has been successful in Asia, they have little to no presence in the Western world. They have made some inroads into the development of high-pressure meters for hydrogen applications, specifically fuel cell car dispensing, but these high-pressure meters have not performed particularly well in the field.
Siemens Process Instrumentation
Despite the sheer enormity of the Siemens—they dwarf even Emerson—Siemens recently divested itself of its Coriolis manufacturing unit. The company invested millions into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, but could not make inroads into the mass flow meter industry—which really speaks to how impacted the market is, an issue which we will touch upon later.
SmartMeasurement is a Taiwanese company which manufactures knockoffs of Micro Motions’ Coriolis flow meters. While they make cursory attempts to sell their products in the US and Europe, they can only really be found in Asia.
TASI Group – TRICOR/KEM/AW Gear Meters
TASI Group is a consortium of companies involved in measurement, manufacturing, and a variety of other industries. In the American Coriolis flow meter space, the company markets their Tricor brand flow meters with limited success. Their products are of average quality, but there are some mechanical concerns with their designs—in particular how their meter mechanisms have a risk of internal leakage due to the use of pipe connectors inside. But the company has made some efforts at improving their products by acquiring the aforementioned Siemens line of meters.
Yokogawa is a Japanese electrical engineering company. Their involvement in Coriolis flow meter manufacturing is somewhat limited as their line of products primarily serves to complement their overall product ‘basket’ In support of their DCS control system.