Worldflow™ Volume IV: Worldwide Vortex Flowmeter Market


Vortex flowmeters were first introduced into industrial markets in the early 1970s.  Since that time, they have undergone significant growth.  Vortex meters are considered an alternative to differential pressure flowmeters, since they offer reduced pressure drop at a reasonable price.  Steam flow measurement has emerged as the best-known application for vortex meters.

Operating Principle: The Mini-Tornado

Vortex flowmeters make use of a principle called the von Karman effect.  This principle states that flow around a bluff body will generate vortices on alternate sides of the bluff body.  Vortex meters contain a bluff body in the form of a piece of material that has a broad, flat front.  This piece of material extends vertically into the flowstream.  Flow velocity is proportional to the number of vortices generated.  Flowrate is calculated by multiplying flow velocity times the area of the pipe.


Versatility is a hallmark of vortex flowmeters.  Vortex meters can be used to measure liquid, steam, and gas.  Steam has become the area in which vortex meters have come to excel.  They can easily handle the high temperature and high flowrates associated with steam.  Steam flow measurement is prevalent in the process industries, and also in district heating.  Vortex meters are also widely used to measure the flow of liquids and gases.

Paradigm Case Applications

The paradigm case applications for vortex flowmeters are applications involving clean, low-viscosity, swirl-free, medium to high-speed fluids.  Fluid speed is highly important for vortex meters, since their proper operation required the generation of vortices.  Handling low flows is the most important limitation on vortex meters. 


Note: See Flowmeter Shootout Part I: New Technologies in Control magazine, February 2001, for an explanation of the paradigm case theory of flowmeter selection.


Study Highlights

As part of our effort to define the worldwide flowmeter market, Flow Research has contacted every known supplier of vortex flowmeters worldwide.  We have gathered detailed information about these suppliers and compiled the result into a complete description of the worldwide vortex flowmeter market.  Highlights of the study include:


·        Market size by geographic region

·        Market shares by geographic region

·        Smart vs. conventional vortex meters

·        Liquid vs. steam vs. gas flow measurement

·        Multivariable vortex meters

·        Market size by industry

·        Growth forecasts through 2005

·        Market strategies for vortex suppliers

·        Distribution channels

·        Company profiles of vortex meter suppliers


While vortex flowmeters have shown significant growth in the past four years, they have not experienced the same type of dynamic growth as have Coriolis and ultrasonic meters.  One factor limiting growth is their limited ability to handle low flowrates.  Rosemount’s entrance into the vortex flowmeter market in 1994 has had a substantial impact.  Much of the growth in the vortex flowmeter market comes from their use in steam flow measurement.


One exciting development for vortex meters is the recent introduction of multivariable vortex meters. Sierra Instruments introduced this product in 1997.  Multivariable vortex meters are discussed in this study, and their prospect for growth is compared to growth prospects for other multivariable meters.  These other meters include multivariable differential pressure flowmeters and multivariable magnetic flowmeters.

Companies Included

Some companies included in this study:



Asahi America

CT Platon



Endress & Hauser






Sierra Instruments



Contact Flow Research for more details about this exciting new study.  Worldflow™ Volume IV: The World Market for Vortex Flowmeters is available for purchase in June 2001.

Worldflow™ Letter and Ordering Information