Robust Bolt-On Tracing

Steam Tracing Solutions for Heating Pipe, Tanks, & Vessels


Since 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. ControTrace® can be rated for higher pressure steam as well. Individual elements are fabricated to specific lengths. The ends of the tubing are closed (seal welded), 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 (and no wleding is required between the ControTrace® and process piping). 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 heating fluid) 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 simulate and 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.


  • Robust construction, 2-3x thicker than typical tracing, ASME rated SA-178 Grade A Boiler Tube
  • External heating system allows for easy maintenance & no cross-contamination risk
  • Conductive heat transfer path from heating medium through wall into the process
  • Contoured to fit piping OD
  • Panel configuration on large bore piping



  • Engineered for predictable heating performance backed with a thermal guarantee
  • Uniform heating meets thermal objective; melt out, heat up, maintenance
  • Detailed 3D installation drawings
  • Less infrastructure over tube tracing, no more than 2 steam circuits per length of pipe
  • Cost savings over traditional jacketed piping