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The roots of thermal flowmeters go back to the hot wire anemometers that were used for airflow measurement in the early 1900s in velocity profile and turbulence research.  Hot wire anemometers are very small and fragile, and consist of a heated, thin wire element. Because they are so small and thin, they have a quick response time, but  their fragility makes them unsuitable for industrial environments.  

Thermal flowmeters were first introduced for industrial applications in the 1970s.  The story of how they came on the market is a fascinating one that involves Sierra Instruments, Fluid Components International (FCI), and Kurz Instruments. Sierra Instruments and Kurz approached the subject through hot wire anemometers. FCI approached the subject through flow switches.  All three companies were pioneers in the development of thermal flowmeters, and all three companies still offer thermal flowmeters today.   

After FCI, Sierra, and Kurz got thermal flowmeter technology going in the 1970s, a second generation of suppliers appeared in the 1980s and 1990s. Eldridge Products, founded by Mark Eldridge, introduced its first thermal mass flowmeter in 1988. In 1993, Magnetrol brought out a thermal mass flowmeter. Fox Thermal Instruments, founded by Brad Lesko, was formed in 1994. Then in 2002, Bob Steinberg formed Sage Metering. All these companies were in the Monterey, California area, with the exception of Magnetrol, which is headquartered in Illinois.

European and Asian suppliers join in

While thermal flowmeters may seem to be primarily an American phenomenon, some European companies have since begun offering them. Chief among these is Endress+Hauser, which is the only thermal company that offers all five types of new-technology flowmeters. Other European companies include E+E Electronik in Austria and VP Instruments in the Netherlands.

Tokyo Keiso of Japan has joined the ranks of thermal flowmeter suppliers, and the technology has also spread to China. So today, even though this technology originated in the United States, it has become a worldwide phenomenon. 


Learn more about New Technology flowmeters:


For further information on thermal meters, including detailed market reports, please see www.flowthermal.com.


 
 
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