About: Charles Wemyss - CEO
Charles Wemyss is the CEO of Litre Meter Limited, the flowmeter experts in supplying Mass, Water, and Chemical Injection Flowmeters worldwide. He holds the Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree from The University of Sheffield. His area of expertise lies in Oil & gas flow measurement and especially chemical injection measurement for positive displacement meters and Coriolis mass meters, over the last twenty- five years. Charles Wemyss plays a key role in launching a bespoke range of customisable flowmeters, growing the organization’s reach worldwide.
1. Can we start with some background on yourself and a brief history of Litre Meter?
Litre Meter was founded in 1975 by Sandy Wemyss. It originally designed and manufactured a Pelton wheel turbine flowmeter – still on sale today – along with a comprehensive selection of flow instrumentation. After Sandy’s death in 1978 his son, Charles Wemyss joined in 1982 and has been there ever since.
2. What inspired you to establish Litre Meter?
It was spun out of a development company looking at many types of flowmeter technologies for a variety of clients. One particular design was not used by that customer and was the genesis of the LM Pelton Wheel line. The MM soon followed and so a wide range of applications could be solved and Litre Meter Limited was established.
3. Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the Litre Meter market evolving over the next few years?
Litre Meter will always find a market for flowmeters at the margins. We are famous for providing flow solutions that are out of the ordinary, perhaps at low flow, with special materials, high pressures, or with specific pressure drop requirements. Whilst everyone one of our meters can measure the ordinary we will always aim for the niches.
4. Could you tell us about a standout business campaign to supply flow meters? (Who are your target audience and how did you measure success)
Our best campaigns come through word-of-mouth. Our two largest orders were as a direct result of providing, successfully, similar systems to original clients. They were impressed and those teams, when the time came, placed orders for similar equipment.
5. One word that best describes how you work.
6. Something you do better than others – the secret of your success? (You may mention your community events, CSR activities, as well)
We still feel like a small family company. Staff turnover is very low, our longest employee has been here 31 years.
7. You had done thesis on ‘Weight reduction in the car with particular reference to the Wankel rotary engine’ in your Mechanical Engineering (The University of Sheffield). Can you brief the major points on it?
Even back in 1981, we were looking forward. Fuel consumption and efficiency were still drivers in car design but not as much as they are today. The thesis explored weight reduction in all aspects of the car but especially in the engine. There are great challenges to non-metallic materials in the engine bay relating to temperature and pressure. Various materials were explored, and simple components identified for evolving into composite construction. The Wankel engine has since fallen by the wayside, limited in its combustion efficiency with its awkwardly shaped combustion chamber. However, it now finds a role in UAVs where it’s relatively light weight and low vibration characteristics are close to ideal.
8. Litre Meter had received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which is an outstanding achievement to be recognized at the highest levels for your success. Can you please elucidate on this?
Specifically, this was an award for Export, reflecting our global success. Traditionally Litre Meter finds its markets overseas, not only in the USA but also in South East Asia and Europe. For a period of several years, our export orders increased culminating in over 70% in 2015.
9. Can you please address the challenges of low-flow measurement?
The term ‘low flow’ has different values to different people. The VFF can easily measure down to 200 milliliters per hour. For other meters, this will be considered impossibly low. For some, 200 ml per day is achievable but not necessarily with the right combination of other specifics such as viscosity or pressure. For Litre Meter, the challenge is to achieve these low flows in a package suitable for some of the most arduous conditions on the planet. We select appropriate materials, backed up by ISO9001:2015 quality management, with high specification testing procedures, high-pressure ratings and high resistance coatings for longevity.
10. How do Litre Meter’s flow meters meet the demands of your customers and transform their business in the new digital economy?
Litre Meter’s Mission Statement is very simple: Our purpose is to provide flow measurement solutions to enable our customers to control their usage of fluids, materials ultimately to reduce costs and environmental impact. The digital economy has the same focus as most economies: to drive down costs and reduce the ecological footprint. High-performance measurement.
11. What are some of the primary end user drivers and requirements in the market that impact the flow meter productivity, and which are the primary market sectors represented by your major customers?
Flowmeter performance is king in our main market which is Oil & Gas. Clients drove the design of the VFF meter to what it is today. The components have been optimized to be as compact and lightweight as possible whilst retaining the flow performance and instrumentation specification. The adoption of our CIFM philosophy has produced a number of crucial advances in meter and instrument design. CIFM is an abbreviation of Chemical Injection Flow Meter. The first and most obvious is that the meters are more compact. Underneath the skin though there are important advancements in components, reliability, Exd philosophy and instrumentation. Standardisation has been a keyword and Litre Meter expect 80% of future orders to be from a standard (but wide) range rather than 20% with 80% bespoke. Over 800,000 variations are possible and every drawing including GA and lifting is available at the time of inquiry.
12. We understand that Litre Meter will enlarge market sales to drive further expansion. Can you share with us in which geographic and technology areas this will cover and do you anticipate further growth via acquisition?
Litre Meter has a 5-year plan and this involves organic growth within our current markets plus expansion into other markets and acquisition. Our geography is driven by our customers and therefore currently covers many of the oil and gas hotspots and includes multiple areas worldwide where skids are built. Our technology platform is stable but we continuously push the operating boundaries to measure lower flows with or without higher pressures.