This paper presents the methodology for determining thermal strains and stresses during heating the charge in a rotary furnace. The calculations were made with the original software, which uses the finite element method. The heat transfer boundary conditions used for computing were verified on the basis of industrial tests. Good compatibility between the experimental data and numerical calculations was obtained. The possibility of the material cracking occurrence was checked for a set exhaust gas temperature distribution on the furnace length. As a result, it was possible to develop steel heating curves characterized by short process times.