Measuring Moisture in Tobacco

The percentage of moisture is a critical parameter throughout the entire tobacco process, right from green leaf threshing to primary processing. It impacts not only smoking quality but also storage properties, called “filling properties," machineability and tobacco wastage.

Primary Processing Plant

To obtain a homogeneous final blend with minimal wastage and good filling power, various grades of tobacco are blended, treated and cut into a so-called “rag”.

The changing tobacco types experience various processes on route to the final blending cylinder. The treatments consist of conditioning, toasting, casing, re-ordering, cutting, rolling, expansion and drying. Almost all require the product to be at the utmost moisture % before or after treatment.

Source: KPM Analytics

. .
Air cured lamina line, Burley: DCC(Direct Cylinder Conditioning)- casing cylinder-toaster-re-orderer-leaf blender-cutter dryer-final blender
Flue cured lamina line, Virginia: DCC-leaf blender-cutter-dryer-final blender
Stem line: DCC-cutters-expansion-dryer- final blender
Expanded tobacco: DIET process-final blender
Add backs: Reconditioning Sheet process-final blender


Measurement Locations

On-line NIR technologies, such as the MCT460 sensor from KPM Analytics, offer a flexible solution to measure moisture at various stages of tobacco processing, including:

  • Exit strip conditioners - The distribution of moisture is very uneven, measurement is recommended for trending purposes only
  • Exit lamina cutters
  • Exit cut lamina dryers
  • Exit stem conditioners
  • Exit stem rollers
  • Exit stem cutters
  • DIET line
  • Exit stem expansion process (WTS)
  • Reconstituted sheet
  • Shorts (reclaimed from scrap cigarettes from the manufacturing process)

MCT460 on-line smart sensor in a tobacco processing operation. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by KPM Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit KPM Analytics.


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