Direct-Fired Dryers – How Do They Work?

A Direct Fired Dryer

A direct fired dryer operates in one of two modes: co-current, or counter-current. In either of the above arrangements, the operation of a direct fired rotary dryer is based on the combustion system (burner) being directly coupled to the rotating shell. Therefore the combustion process (flame) occurs inside the rotating shell.

The wet material is fed into one end of the rotating drum and travels to the other end where it discharges as dry product onto a transfer conveyor. As the material travels the length of the drum it is picked up by lifting flights attached to the inside of the shell’s circumference and is then “showered” across the full diameter of the drum. This allows the transfer of heat to the product allowing the moisture to be released.

High Performance

Due to this inherent design the unit operates in a high-performance mode allowing the dryer to use the heat generated by the burner to its maximum efficiency utilizing all three forms of heat transfer. This is especially prevalent with an application involving various particle sizes.

It has the further benefits of being a forgiving machine as it can comfortably handle swings in percent moisture along with varying particle size and process rates. In addition, it does not require the monitoring assistance of a skilled technician.

Components in a direct fired rotary dryer include:

1. Burner to provide the heated gas.

2. Rotating drum to tumble and lift the material into the gas stream.

3. Air-exhaust system to remove the vapor-laden gas.



  • Natural Gas
  • Diesel Oil
  • Propane


  • Dedicated fuel
  • Dual fuel
  • Open air style burner
  • Total air style burner
  • Fuel range: 2MM-200MM BTUs


  • Aggregate
  • Frac Sand
  • Roofing Granules
  • Kaolin Clay
  • Bentonite

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