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Flow Research is pleased to announce that The World Market for Mass Flow Controllers, 3rd Edition began rolling out in July and is selling fast.

The mass flow controller (MFC) market is highly competitive, with a large number of suppliers. In fact, it is one of the most rapidly developing markets in the flowmeter world today. If you want to know exactly where the mass flow controller market is going and just how quickly it is growing, you'll want to this study today.

Among other trends, the study found that the MFC market is growing the fastest in China, Western Europe, and North America, in that order. Economies in China, India, and other emerging markets in Asia and elsewhere are driving the MFC market upward. These economies are growing at a rapid pace and have an expanding middle class. 

New markets

A major portion of mass flow controllers are used in the semiconductor industry for measuring gas flow, and that market is large.  However, the semiconductor market is unpredictable and cyclical, and more and more MFC manufacturers are actively attempting to broaden their base in other industrial and laboratory/research market spaces. Some of these segments are growing faster than semiconductor manufacturing, and hold the promise of long-term MFC applications. New environmental applications such as fuel cells and solar/photovoltaic have opened up avenues for MFCs. In addition, new manufacturing processes and the push for automation in factories are driving MFC market growth.

In the world of internet of things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, unique identifiers permit networked devices to collect and share data with common control points as well as with each other, and this capability is changing the way industrial processes work. Increasingly, devices share performance data that then changes their own operating status. The result is improved process flows, reduced employee monitoring, faster response times to changing process conditions, enhanced safety, and overall increases in both production quality and volume. MFCs can provide accurate data points and control in a way that some legacy flow measurement devices cannot.

Check out these many industrial and lab/research applications for mass flow controllers.

Industrial Segment Applications
Aerospace Hydraulic systems test and fabrication; ventilation R&D; hardening canopies for jet aircraft
Analytical/gas analyzers Analytical sampling; gas sample preparation and measurement; verifying flow and pressure for multiple gases flowing to and from gas chromatographs
Automotive emissions testing Emissions monitoring; measuring compressed air;  verification of SHED (Sealed Housing for Evaporative Determination) operations; exhaust gases
Biotech/pharmaceutical Process control of reactor gases to fermentation; bioreactor gas management; maintain quality in drug manufacturing, production, FDA testing, and culture growing
Chemical/petrochemical Measurement of gases in chemical processes and manufacturing
Electronics manufacturing Manufacture of computers, monitors, and other electronic equipment; laser welding and cutting
Fiber optics/glass manufacturing Glass manufacturing; ultraviolet coating on glass; fiber optics and glass coating; bulletproof glass for cars; high purity optics for bathroom faucet coatings
Food and beverage Blending; process control in bottling, drying, mixing, cooling; protective gases for packaging; wine and beer making
Fuel cells Measuring efficiency of fuel cells
Furnaces Flame control; gas mixing and blending; burner control
Gas distribution Gas consumption measurement for internal accounting purposes
Heat treating Burner control; welding
LED lighting Particulate dispersal, gas used in deposition, OLED
Medical Check performance of equipment; anesthesia; medical equipment manufacturing
Metals processing Improve quality of manufactured metals
Packaging Protective gases for packages
Solar/Photovoltaic Application of thin film coatings to panels
Power Measurement of gases used in power generation

How they work

Mass flow controllers contain an integrated control valve that is used to control the flow as well as measure it.  

Although more MFC suppliers are introducing differential pressure (DP), ultrasonic, and Coriolis technology,  thermal technology continues to dominate.

The roots of thermal flowmeters go back to the hot wire anemometers that were used for airflow measurement in the early 1900s, although thermal flowmeters were not introduced for industrial applications until the 1970s.

Thermal flowmeters use heat in making their flow measurements.  Thermal flowmeters put heat into the flowstream and use one or more temperature sensors to measure how quickly this heat dissipates.  Heat dissipation is measured in two main ways:

  • One method of measuring heat dissipation keeps a heated sensor at a constant temperature and measures how much current is needed to keep it at that temperature.  

  • Another method measures the temperature difference between the flowstream temperature and a heated sensor.  

What is common to both methods is the idea that higher speed flow results in increased cooling. Both measure the effects of this increased cooling, and compute mass flow based on this result.  

Coriolis-based MFCs, however, offer better accuracy and operate independent of fluid properties, and their sensor is by nature faster than a sensor based on heat transfer. Ultrasonic technology MFCs also offer faster response time to changes in flowrate than their thermal versions 

In addition to The World Market for Mass Flow Controllers, 3rd Edition, we have a separate study on thermal flowmeters, The World Market for Thermal Flowmeters, 2nd Edition.


Articles About Mass Flow Controllers

Previous Mass Flow Controller Studies

The World Market Update for Mass Flow Controllers

Published July 2015


The World Market for Mass Flow Controllers, 2nd Edition

Published July 2012 


The World Market for Mass Flow Controllers

Published July 2008 


Articles About Mass Flow Controllers



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