Hot Hot Topics, July 2005

Aalborg acquires vortex flowmeter line from Venture Measurement

Aalborg has purchased the vortex flowmeter line from Venture Measurement of Spartansburg, South Carolina. The deal was completed in February 2005. Venture Measurement acquired its vortex flowmeter line in 1998 from Nice Instruments, and sold it under the Aaliant name. Venture’s Aaliant vortex flowmeter uses patented dual signal processing technology. The meter measures each vortex independently on either side of the bluff body and filters non-flow noise. This reduces noise and improves accuracy throughout the flow range.

Venture is still selling its target flowmeter under the Aaliant name. Venture’s target flowmeter is designed mainly for steam applications. Venture’s target meter was originally known as the Ramapo meter, and was developed and sold by the Ramapo Instrument Company. The Ramapo meter was also later sold by Hersey Measurement.

Besides its Aaliant brand target meters, Venture Measurement manufactures positive displacement and turbine flowmeters that it sells under the Niagara name. Venture acquired its Niagara flowmeters from Hersey Measurement. Venture also sells the Bindicator product line of level instrumentation. This includes continuous and point level instrumentation, as well as dry and liquid level products.

The history of Venture Measurement is itself somewhat complex. In 1998, Bindicator Company was renamed Venture Measurement after its acquisition of and consolidation with Hersey Measurement. Venture Measurement was previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Berwind Group Partners, a privately held group of operating companies. However, in February 2004, Venture Measurement was acquired by Gems Sensors, a subsidiary of the Danaher Corporation (See Worldflow Barometer Flash Report dated March 24, 2004).

Aalborg, located in Orangeburg, New York, is mainly known as a supplier of mass flow controllers and variable area flowmeters. The company also sells barstock, needle, and solenoid valves designed for flow control. Aalborg was founded in 1972.

What it Means

After absorbing Hersey Meter, Venture Measurement had a wide variety of flow technologies, including positive displacement, turbine, target, and vortex flowmeters. As a result, Venture Measurement was never able to put sufficient resources behind their new vortex meter to make the product line expand and grow. In addition, there was some competition between Venture’s target meter and their vortex flowmeter. The target meter is mainly used to measure steam, while the vortex meter can measure steam, gas, and liquid. By selling off their vortex flowmeter product line, Venture Measurement will be able to focus more on the remaining flowmeter product lines.

For Aalborg, this is an opportunity to increase the company’s presence in the flowmeter marketplace. Aalborg has an in-house laboratory, which it will use to make any needed product changes and improvements. While some existing customers will no doubt be good prospects for the new vortex meter, the acquisition of Venture’s vortex meter gives Aalborg an opportunity to branch out into new applications, 

and broaden their customer base. Thus, the acquisition appears to be a win-win for both companies.

Aalborg’s acquisition comes at a propitious time for the vortex flowmeter market. While the market has shown slow growth over the past five years, suppliers are reporting strong results for 2004. Could the vortex flowmeter market finally be coming to life? There are signs that this is happening. If so, Aalborg is entering the market during an upswing, and could do quite well with its new product line.


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