The mathematical model describing the batch operation of industrial dryers with trucks and trays is presented and analysed for the case of grape dehydrators. The optimum flowsheet configuration and operation conditions for the specific mode of operation and type of dryer employed, are sought and verified by appropriate formulation of design and optimization strategies. The optimization objective is the total annual cost of the plant, subject to constraints imposed by the operation of the dryer, thermodynamics, and construction reasoning. The decision variables were the number of trucks and the drying air stream conditions involving temperature and humidity. The MINLP nature of the design problem required mathematical programming techniques for its solution. The optimization was carried out for a wide range of production capacities, and the optimal points were evaluated in each case. A characteristic design study was presented in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.