Indirect Air Heaters in the Tobacco Industry


Did you know that indirect fired air heaters are used in the tobacco production process?

Typically, tobacco is still cured, or dried, the age-old way; this high volume crop is cured in a couple steps, each of which takes weeks and sometimes, months. The process is as below:

  1. The tobacco is cultivated and harvested annually by either cutting the stalk off at the ground or by harvesting individual leaves.
  2. The leaves are hung in a dryer- it is during this process that the leaves undergo curing and begin to develop their flavor and taste. There are many methods of curing: air curing, fired curing, flue curing and sun curing.
  3. The product is then prepared for production.

Some products made with tobacco also require tobacco extracts, such as cigarettes. When manufacturing cigarettes, the paper must be flavored using tobacco extracts. These extracts are generated by:

  1. Processing the tobacco with water and alcohol to make the tobacco liquescent.
  2. Using a spray dryer to provide a more concentrated tobacco extract.
Spray Dryer with Air Heater Diagram

In order to create the “smooth” smoke taste that tobacco is known for, the spray dryer uses an indirect fired air heater as the heat source. The tobacco flavor remains “pure” because indirect air heaters do not contaminate the air stream with the by-products of combustion.

  1. The spray dried tobacco is applied to cigarette paper.
  2. The paper is sent to production where it is wrapped around the tobacco mix, found inside cigarettes.

For more information, please call 513-367-9300 or visit our indirect air heater webpage.