020- Front_Cover4Since 1980, ControTrace® bolt-on heating elements have offered significant economic advantage over fully jacketed piping while providing substantially more heating capacity and reliability than steam tracing. ControTrace® also prevents cross-contamination between the heating medium and the process. For these reasons, ControTrace® has grown to be the preferred solution for many heated piping applications. Today, over five hundred miles of ControTrace® are in service in plants and refineries on every continent.

The basic configuration of a ControTrace® element is a 2-in. by 1-in. rectangular tube formed of SA178 Grade A boiler tubing. One of the 2-in. sides is contoured to closely fit the outside diameter of the pipe or vessel onto which it will be placed. The standard wall thickness is 1/8 in., which gives ControTrace® ample robustness and pressure-containing capability. Individual elements are fabricated to specific lengths. The ends of the tubing are closed, and inlet and outlet connections are added to enable heating medium transfer. When multiple elements are required, these are most often joined together in a panel configuration to minimize the number of inlet/outlet connections. ControTrace® is secured to the pipe or vessel with high-strength banding. Before banding, a thin layer of heat transfer compound is spread onto the ControTrace® surface that will be in contact with the pipe or vessel.

During operation, the heating medium (typically steam or hot oil) flows through the ControTrace® and transfers its heat through the heat transfer compound and into the pipe/vessel wall and into the process. The number of ControTrace® elements required depends upon the design objective and the design conditions. Most ControTrace® applications are designed to maintain a process temperature (to keep liquid flowing) or a minimum pipe/vessel wall temperature (to prevent vapor condensation). CSI utilizes finite-difference computer modeling to predict temperature profiles and heat transfer rates based upon process, ambient, piping, and insulation conditions. The computer model has been corroborated time and again with empirical field data.

The engineering of ControTrace® bolt-on jacketing and panels is based on design details which have been burst tested in accordance with the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 1. All welding is performed per Section IX. Each piece of ControTrace® is pressure-tested per Section VIII. The standard pressure rating for ControTrace® is 150 psig at 400°F, but higher ratings are available if required.

ControTrace® for Piping

ControTrace® is used in a variety of piping applications to keep the process flowing, prevent vapor condensation on the pipe wall, and heat-up or cool-down the process prior to key process equipment. The combination of its cost advantage over jacketed piping and its thermal and reliability advantages over tube tracing make it an attractive thermal maintenance solution for most processes.

Application Report: Western Asphalt Products Keeps Asphalt Flowing with ControTrace® and ControHeat® (PDF)

ControTrace® for Tanks & Vessels

ControTrace® is the heating technology of choice for tank and vessel applications where:

  • Contamination from internal coil leaks cannot be tolerated
  • Weld-on half pipe is cost-prohibitive (high labor costs)
  • Wall temperature uniformity is critical to preventing condensation/corrosion


With ControTrace®, the need for internal heating coils is completely eliminated. ControTrace® keeps tanks at optimal temperature through the use of external heating only.

Case Study – Sulfur Tank Heating

Process Applications

CSI’s bolt-on ControTrace®/ControHeat® heating technology is successfully used across a broad spectrum of processes. A partial listing of these processes and their typical temperature ranges are shown below.

  • Acrylic acid (55-80°F)
  • Amine acid gas (100-130°F)
  • Ammonium nitrate (365-400°F)
  • Benzoic acid (285-310°F)
  • Bisphenol-A (310-365°F)
  • Calcium chloride (420-700°F)
  • Caprolactam (190-250°F)
  • Chicle (240-280°F)
  • Chlorinated resins and waxes (215-365°F)
  • Claus tail gas (270-340°F)
  • Coal tars (350-600°F)
  • Coker bottoms (350-550°F)
  • Chocolate (180-200°F)
  • Cyanuric chloride (335-365°F)
  • Dimethyl terephthalate (380-400°F)
  • Dinitrobenzene (220-365°F)
  • Edible oils (240-300°F)
  • Hot melt adhesives (425-475°F)
  • Liquified coal (500-750°F)
  • Nylon (450-600°F)
  • Phosphorus (240-290°F)
  • Phosphorus pentasulfide (550-750°F)
  • Phthalic anhydride (290-350°F)
  • Polyolefin additives (455-750°F)
  • Polycarbonate (650-750°F)
  • Polypropylene (atactic) (355-375°F)
  • Polystryrene (350-400°F)
  • Polyesters (600-750°F)
  • Rosin (340-365°F)
  • Sour water stripper gas (180-195°F)
  • Sucrose (275-300°F)
  • Sulfur (270-300°F)
  • Sulfur sweep air (260-280°F)
  • Silicones (240-340 °F)
  • Sodium (240-280°F)
  • Toluene diisocyanate (300-360°F)
  • Toluene diamine (300-340°F)
  • Toluene sulfonamide (325-340°F)
  • Toluic acid (365-390°F)
  • Tall oil pitch (275-355°F)
  • Terephtalic acid (400-450°F)
  • Tetrachlorobenzene (300-350°F)