VDC Reports on Inventory Tank Gauging and Process Level Measurement

9/30/2003 - A recent market study from Venture Development Corporation (VDC) investigated needs of users (end users, engineering/construction firms, OEMs, and systems integrators) in purchasing and use of Inventory Tank Gauging (ITG) systems and process level measurement devices. ITG is the use of level measurement for inventory storage and custody transfer, rather than in process control applications.

As part of the market study, VDC conducted interviews and a Web-based survey with users. Several of the findings from these are discussed in this news release.

Product Selection Criteria
The following four criteria, in ranked order of mention, were identified as being principal product selection criteria:

  1. High Reliability/Quality
  2. Accuracy
  3. Durable/Robust
  4. Ease of Installation/Configuration

Other criteria, identified by 5 - 30% of the respondents were: ability to withstand dust, being non-contact, compatibility with other systems, ease of maintenance, ease of use, explosion proof, intrinsically safe, repeatability, and weather/environment resistant.

Accuracy need, the second most identified criteria, actually differs considerably given the wide range of industries and applications in which these products are used. Accuracy requirements from plus & minus 0.06 inch up to plus & minus 3 inches were cited.

Configuration Hardware
VDC investigated in the study the extent to which integrated displays and portable PCs are used in the setup and configuring of the purchased ITG systems and level measurement devices.

Output Signals
There continues to be a shift to digital network connectivity of inventory tank gauging systems and process level measurement devices.

The most popular digital networks for use with ITG systems and process level measurement devices are Foundation Fieldbus, HART, Modbus, and Profibus.

Non-Product Vendor Selection Criteria
Users were asked what are the most important non-product or "commercial" considerations in their selection of ITG system and process level measurement device vendors. The four most identified in ranked order of mention are:

  1. General Customer Service/Support
  2. Price
  3. Technical Support
  4. Availability/Delivery

Other criteria, identified 5 - 32% of the respondents were: ability to pre-test before purchase, application assistance, availability of parts, brand name recognition, experience with vendor, training available on products, vendor reputation, and warranty.

The ranking of general customer service/support ahead of price and technical support ahead of availability/delivery are indications that these are not commodity type markets, but rather ones where a lot of customer interaction and support is needed.

About VDC
Founded in 1971, VDC is a technology market research and consulting firm that specializes in industrial and commercial electronics, computing, communications, software and power system markets.

For further information on this new study "The US Process Level Measurement and Inventory Tank Gauging Industry, Eighth Edition" or any other VDC service contact: Marc Regberg, Vice President, Phone: 508-653-9000, xt. 111, Email: msr@vdc-corp.com

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