SIC 3824

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing meters for registering or tallying quantities of fluids, motor vehicle measuring instruments, and instruments for counting the frequency of items or events. This category includes establishments that manufacture domestic, commercial, and industrial gas and water meters; meters for measuring speed, distance traveled, and other variables for the motor vehicle industry; and counters and timers for quantifying production rates in industrial processes. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing electricity integrating meters and electronic frequency counters are classified in SIC 3825: Instruments for Measuring and Testing of Electricity and Electrical Signals. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing flow meters for industrial process control and other industrial process instruments are classified in SIC 3823: Industrial Instruments for Measurement, Display, and Control of Process Variables; and Related Products.

NAICS Code(s)

334514 (Totalizing Fluid Meter and Counting Devices Manufacturing)

Approximately 223 U.S. establishments manufactured totalizing fluid meters and counting devices in the late 1990s. These establishments employed over 19,200 people and generated over $4.6 billion in shipments in 2000. In the late 1990s, the industry shipped integrating and totalizing fluid meters for gas and liquids valued at $1.78 billion, and other totalizing fluid meters and counting devices valued at $171 million. "Residential construction is the most important factor that underlies the growth of this market," according to U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook '99.

Totalizing fluid meters measure fluids in quantity terms (such as gallons or cubic feet) and indicate total fluid volume rather than the rates of flow indicated by the flow meters used in industrial process control. The most common type of totalizing fluid meter is the positive-displacement meter, which operates by allowing the fluid to enter a chamber where the force of fluid motion causes a diaphragm, disk, vane, or other element to move or rotate. Each cycle of the rotating or moving element generates a signal that is sent to the registering component of the meter, which tallies or indicates the total fluid quantity.

Small positive-displacement meters used for registering consumption of water in households or businesses have traditionally been the largest product type in the integrating and totalizing fluid meter segment, followed by meters for registering residential gas consumption. Other significant product groups in this segment include registering or totalizing gas meters for commercial or industrial use, impeller meters and consumption-registering rotary and turbine gas meters, gauges for computing pressure and temperature corrections in industrial processes, and liquid meters used in industrial bulk plants and pipelines.

Fuelled by the needs of the process control industry beginning in the 1980s, fluid meter technology began to evolve at a dramatic pace, offering enormous improvements in reliability, accuracy, and range of measurable flow rates. Among the most important new flow measurement technologies most likely to have an impact on the totalizing fluid meter industry were the use of "non-intrusive" measuring devices that do not change the characteristics of the fluids they measure; improved meter maintenance performance through advanced diagnostic techniques; a trend toward solid-state meters with no moving parts; and perhaps even the eventual replacement of the traditional meter itself by pipes that contain their own measuring sensors.

In the late 1990s, the largest percentage of the value of the industry's shipments, or $2.32 billion, was derived from the motor vehicle instrument sector, which produced speedometers, tachometers, odometers, fuel level gauges, water temperature gauges, ammeters, oil pressure gauges, and other motor vehicle instruments. Most of these products are installed in new vehicles. Customers dealing with this segment of the industry often are large automotive suppliers that provide vehicle manufacturers with subassemblies (such as dashboards complete with instruments) ready for installation. The motor vehicle instruments segment is expected to grow in accordance with the increases in the worldwide demand for vehicles and with the development of integrated electronic digital controls.

Counters and timers are used in a wide variety of manufacturing applications and typically indicate how many items have been fed into a machine, how fast a machine is operating, how many items have been produced, how long it will take to perform a process, or what time a specific event will occur. In the late 1990s, these nonautomotive counters and timers accounted for almost $428 million of the value of the industry's shipments.

Firms in five states—California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas—accounted for 28 percent of the value of all industry shipments in the late 1990s. Companies in this industry include American Meter Co. (more than $100 million in sales), Badger Meter, Inc. ($143.8 million in 1998 sales), Daniel Industries, Inc. ($283.2 million in 1998 sales), Engineering Measurements ($9.7 million in 1999 sales), the Foxboro Company (more than $250 million in sales), Milton Roy Company/Flow Control Division (more than $25 million in sales), Schlumberger Limited ($11.8 billion in 1998 sales), Rosemount, Inc. (more than $500 million in sales), and Stewart Warner Instrument Corp. (more than $25 million in sales).

Shipments made by manufacturers of totalizing fluid meters and counting devices, combined with those in other categories (SIC 3822, SIC 3823, and SIC 3829) making measuring and controlling instruments, accounted for 44 percent of total industrial and analytical instrument products in the late 1990s. Shipments of measuring and controlling instruments are projected to grow 3 percent annually through 2003. Motor vehicle instruments and integrating fluid meters and counting devices will be among the higher-growth segments. Estimates for 1999 forecasted 33 percent of product shipments would be exported, while 25 percent of U.S. demand would be imported. The top five export markets in the late 1990s were Canada, Mexico, Japan, United Kingdom, and Germany, and the top five import countries were Mexico, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, and Germany.

Further Reading

Blickley, George J. "Flowmeter Selection Isn't Easy, But Tools Are Here." Control Engineering , 1 November 1996.

"Current Industrial Reports: Totalizing Fluid Meter and Counting Device Manufacturing—1997." U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. September 1999. Available from .

Furness, Richard. "Future Flow Measurement Has Digital Influence." Control Engineering , 1 October 1996.

Hoover's Online Company Capsules. Available from .

U.S. Industry and Trade Outlook '99. McGraw-Hill and U.S. Department of Commerce, 1999.

United States Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000." Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from .

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