A high-voltage electrostatic painting apparatus (10) for coating an article (12) inside a spray booth (14). The apparatus (10) includes a flow rate meter (34) disposed within the electrostatic environment for measuring the rate at which paint is supplied to a discharge atomizer (18). The meter (34) includes two intermeshing rotors (44, 46) disposed within a sealed non-ferromagnetic housing (54). The two rotors (44, 46) rotate in response to liquid paint flowing through the housing (54). A magnetic coupling (64) acts through the housing (54) to drive an optical signal producing disc (62). A pick-up sensor (82) senses the optical signal from the disc (62) and sends that signal outside the booth (14) to a master control unit (40) via a fiber optic conductor (90). The master control unit (40) automatically adjusts a flow rate regulator valve (92) to provide a constant rate of paint flow to the discharge atomizer (18).
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