What is a flow computer?
Flow computer analyzes the raw data signals from flow meters to record and determine the flow rate of liquid, steam, heat, or gas flowing through the pipe. It uses algorithms based on complex mathematical model to provide the accurate measurements, which helps in complying with the contract regulations and policies.
Computer-based graphical interface and hardware accessories such as mounting adapters, pressure transducer, mechanical index, temperature probes, pulse generating devices, and multivariable transmitter, and wireless or wired network are adopted to link with different flowmeters including gas sensors, pressure gauges and various distributed control systems. Moreover, it is integrated with complex equations and transmitters that reduce uncertainties during the measurements and also improve the metrology performance.
Three Major Industries that uses Flow Computers
Oil & Gas
Increasing energy demand for electricity, consumer goods, and vehicles are some of the major factors driving the growth of the oil & gas industry. Flow computer measures mass and volume-based flow of oil & gas with the help of sophisticated algorithms, which are further interpreted to analyze the flow and take the crucial decisions accordingly. It also helps in tracking the flow in real-time and activate the warning systems in case if the flow surpasses the pre-set parameters.
Flow computer collects the data and looks for any anomalies within the system to improve business operations. These computers can act as a vital component during the maintenance routine of the oil & gas systems. Furthermore, flow computers can be used to create live stimulations by changing the pressure or flow in the pipe over the different intervals to note the outcome and enhance the efficiency.
One of the major roles that flow computers can play in the oil & gas is as a cash register. Flow computers collect the fluid volume data that helps in accounting. In this industry, massive amount of volume flows on a daily basis; however, a small error can result in huge financial disparity. Thus, to avoid this, flow computer provides a complete procedure to trace the information with its high processing power.
Automation in the oil & gas industry is expected to increase the demand for flow computers. However, the rising cost of oil & gas can hamper the market in the coming years.
Water & Wastewater
Water & wastewater treatment facilities are utilizing various flowmeters which include ultrasonic, thermal flow mass meter, and magnetic flowmeter. Growing demand for clean water in the urban and rural areas is driving the growth of the water & wastewater industry. Moreover, the rising stringent regulations regarding the wastewater disposal to mitigate the environmental concerns is increasing the demand for flow computers in the industry.
Flow computer collects the data from the water filtering tanks and monitors the flow in the pipeline carrying disposal. The data is collected from the waste disposal pipelines and analyzed to foresee if the disposed waste falls under the environment compliance. Flow computer also collects the historic data and helps the industry owners to improve the efficiency of the waste disposal system. In the case of water treatment plants, it ensures that high-quality of water is supplied in rural and urban areas.
Increasing spent of the government and private organizations on the wastewater management facilities is expected to increase the demand for flow computers in the market. Flow computer is anticipated to witness an increasing demand from low and middle-level countries as they are undergoing rapid industrial transformation.
Energy & Power Generation
Rising electricity demand owing to the rapid development in the rural and urban areas is expected to positively influence the growth of the flow computers market. Power or energy generation plant utilizes turbines, boilers, condensers, and evaporators. This equipment boils the water and produces steam, which in turn, rotates the turbine and generates electricity. Thus, to ensure that there’s a constant flow of steam or liquid, flow computer is utilized to track the overall process.
These plants use various flowmeters such as thermal mass flowmeters, vortex flow meters, and orifice meters to maintain or improve the boiler efficiency. Flow computer computes all the data from these flowmeters and even monitors them in real-time to avoid problems such as excess or inadequate production of gas/steam during the production of electricity that can be expensive or dangerous to the system.
Other industries that use flow computers are food & beverages, chemical, pulp & paper, and metal & mining, among others.
Flow Computer Market Analysis
As per the detailed report published by Growth Market Reports, the global flow computer market was valued at around USD 826.7 Million in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 1,629.4 Million by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 9.2% during the forecast period, 2020-2027.
On the basis of types, the market is segmented into hardware, software, and support services. In this segment, the hardware segment is expected to witness a massive share of the market during the forecast period. In terms of applications, the flow computer market is divided into liquid & gas measurement, well head measurement, custody & control, fuel monitoring, well optimization, and others. The liquid & gas measurement segment accounted for a considerable share of the market in 2019, in terms of revenue. On the other hand, the fuel monitoring segment is anticipated to grow at a moderate rate in the coming years.
Which Region Is Expected to Witness Huge Demand for Flow Computer?
North America held a significant market position in 2019 and is anticipated to grow at a robust rate during the forecast period. Increasing oil & gas exploration activities in countries such as the US and China are driving the growth of the market in this region. According to American Petroleum Institute, in 2018, oil & gas industry contributed USD 1.5 Trillion to the US economy. As per the reports by International Energy Agency (IEA), the US is estimated to surpass oil export than Russia and is expected to come closer to Saudi Arabia by 2024. The emergence of new entrants in the oil & gas industry in the region is further propelling the growth of the North American market.
Impact of COVID-19 to the market
The coronavirus pandemic had disrupted the metal & mining, oil & gas, food & beverages, water & wastewater industries. This is due to the restrictions imposed by governments to curb the spread of the disease. According to the article published by Deloitte entitled, “2021 Oil and Gas Industry Outlook” in 2021, the global oil & gas production tanked by 25% globally. However, it has rebounded sharply but the demand is expected to remain lower than pre-COVID levels till 2021.
Demand for flow computer is anticipated to increase with the increase in the stability of the market. In the case of competitive scenario, the local industry players are anticipated to witness lucrative opportunities while foreign players are striving for strengthening their presence in other regions. Amidst the pandemic, the governments across countries, especially emerging economies, are taking initiatives to boost the manufacturing industry, which in turn, is speculated to propel the market growth.
Competitive Landscape & Developments
The prominent players of the market are Yokogawa Corporation of America, ABB, SICK AG, Emerson Electric Co., Cameron, Schlumberger Limited, Schneider Electric, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., FMC Technologies, Inc., and Honeywell International, Inc.
Industry players are focusing on product offerings and are engaging in partnerships, collaborations, and partnerships to expand their market share. Moreover, they are actively investing in R&D activities to develop advanced flowmeters as part of their product line to leverage their market position by providing a complete package to the client. For instance, Honeywell introduced an ultrasonic gas flow meter in 2017.
Schlumberger Limited, a prominent oilfield company, introduced ACTive Q*CT real-time downhole flow measurement device that delivers real-time injection diagnostics and treatment evaluation at the same time. With the help of this device, the client can evaluate the flow rate contribution at a regular interval. The company’s subsidiary Cameron launched two API-compliant flow computers. Both of its models have lithium-ion battery and can be accessed through tablet, smartphones, and computer.
Emerson Electric, an American multinational company, launched a next-generation flow computer, which consists of single and dual meter run gas flow computers. It developed a flow computer that has an ultra-compact design and is equipped with some advanced features in components including battery and integral sensor, with different flow meter technologies.
Challenges in the market
Growing focus on the green energy can reduce the demand for oil & gas in the foreseeable future. Government and private organizations are increasing their investment on the renewables to reduce the burden on environment. Auto manufacturers are investing billions of dollars to increase the number of electric cars in their product portfolio.
The flow computer market is expected to grow significantly due to technological advancements and the growth in the oil & gas industry. The integration of cloud-based technology, different flowmeter technologies, and other advanced functions for flow controlled is speculated to drive the market growth. However, the market is expected to witness a moderate growth in 2021 due to the pandemic effect.