From Farmer to Mechanical Engineer
Hermann Paintner on Bavarian radio - 1973 video
It was 1972 when the 25-year old farmer Hermann Paintner designed and built his first self-propelled sugar beet harvester at his parents’ farm.
Bavarian radio became aware of this development in 1973 and requested an interview.
The year was 1972 when 25-year-old farmer Hermann Paintner designed and built his first self-propelled sugar beet harvester at his parents’ farm. With the assistance of friends and the support and goodwill of his parents, particularly his father, his passion for design had its first great achievement. The first machine was built almost entirely of second-hand parts. He was a welcome visitor at local scrap dealers.
The component parts of his machine may have been old, but his ideas were not. At first the experts in the field wrote him off as an immature idealist without any practical experience. They predicted no or hardly any success for somebody totally lacking well-founded technical training. And yet, they soon learned otherwise to accomplish such a feat. It was not the well-known companies with their large numbers of technicians and engineers that were leaders in the competition, but a young farmer from the lower Bavarian hills.
Even as a child Hermann Paintner was very interested in technical subjects, an interest that only increased as he grew up. Almost as play he began convert his ideas and thoughts into practice. He was in his element tinkering and assembling, sawing and welding, drilling and machining. He had his field of operation on his parents' farm, which he was intended to take over in time. There was hardly a machine on the farm on which he had not made any technical changes in his early years. Even if a change was not always an improvement, the attempt was still worth it.
In 1974 there were enough people interested in another machine that he could start a small production series. However, there was not enough room on the Paintner farm. There was also not enough equipment and personnel for a manufacturing company. So Hermann Paintner looked for a partner, which he found in the small Holmer agricultural technology company. Hermann Paintner designed and built machines for Holmer on a freelance basis.„Holmer, System Paintner" became a standard term for six-row, self-propelled sugar beet harvesting technology in Germany and other parts of Europe. They worked together for 10 years and then separated.
ROPA Fahrzeug- und Maschinenbau GmbH was founded in 1986. Sittelsdorf was selected as the headquarters. Inspired by new ideas and with great energy Hermann Paintner set about designing a simpler and more economical version of the sugar beet harvester. However, this machine, with a small intermediate bunker, was not successful.
Hermann Paintner was already known at Südzucker AG as a designer to be reckoned with, and in 1987 he was commissioned with the task of converting a patented beet loader. ROPA purchased the sole license for manufacture and sales from Mr Fischer in Eggmühl. Thus production of the “Lade-Maus“ (mouse-loader) as the machine is called among professionals started. This machine cleans and loads the sugar beets from the clamp at the edge of the field onto the truck on the road. The truck takes the load to the sugar refinery.
A new design for a complete sugar beet harvester was started, and this machine was to bring ROPA resounding success in the market. A new frame design that allowed larger tires had a bunker capacity 35% greater than any competitors. It was first shown in autumn 1988 at the international sugar beet harvesting demonstration in Seligenstadt. All major European manufacturers were represented at the harvesting demonstration. The new ROPA bunker harvester had the best cleaning results combined with gentle handling of the sugar beets and the lowest possible soil pressure. The professionals paid attention and the competition was faced with a new manufacturer on the market.
The then largest bunker harvester in the world with a bunker capacity of 35 m³ (22 t) was designed to meet the ever-growing demands for output and productivity. The 3-axle machine was introduced at the harvesting demonstration in Seligenstadt. Both customers and the professional world were enthusiastic.
The width of the pickup on the harvester was increased from 6.7 m to 8.3 m. An additional driver's cabin was installed at the rear of this model. This was required for approval for road driving, because the chain pickup obscured the driver's vision too much otherwise.
The chain pickup on the harvester was replaced by the roller pickup. The patented pinch roller system enabled the cleaned dirt to be distributed on the complete width of the pickup.
The birth year of the euro-Tiger and the euro-Maus. A better equipped cabin ensured the best possible view of the working parts and all-round vision for orientation during work. The sophisticated electronic system controlled and monitored mechanical processes. Improved hydraulics and a better diesel engine increased the output and operating safety of the machine.
The articulation angle of the euro-Tiger was increased from 15° to 30° to improve its maneuverability. It could now turn very tightly even in small fields. Maximum area production per hour the lowest harvesting costs per hectare are the result. Because the first strainer wheel is precisely below the articulated joint, it can always pick up the complete beet flow from the infeed conveyor.
The heart of every sugar beet harvester is the lifting unit. Its productivity determines the speed of the machine. After testing in 2003, the first new design of the PR lifting unit went into production in 2004.
The euro-Tiger V8 goes into production. Comprehensive new developments, particularly in the field of control and regulating technology combined with a new hydraulic design and electronic load-sensing system, make the euro-Tiger V8 the world's most productive sugar beet harvester. The over-wide lifting unit used in the PR-XL series is now being introduced outside Europe in the USA and Canada for the first time.
ROPA designed a new defoliator unit to match the blockage-free PR lifting unit for extremely weed-infested sugar beet fields and sticky black soils. Four sensor wheels in the track maintain the sturdy defoliator at a constant height even in the most uneven fields. An enlarged leaf auger with solid and angular windings moves even very large volumes of leaves and weeds to the leaf spreader on the left through a round auger channel.
ROPA has developed an innovative transport and coupling system for transporting the PR-XL lifting units on public roads. The extra wide lifting units with raised defoliator are towed lengthways behind the euro-Tiger V8 on a trailer with an airbrake system.
The new euro-Maus 3 was exhibited for the first time at the international machine demonstration in Seligenstadt. The overall design of the cleaner-loader combines familiar features and proven components of the euro-Tiger V8 with the latest technical innovations from ROPA. ROPA is setting new standards for user-friendliness, reliability and ease of service with the euro-Maus 3. A color operator terminal optimized for ease of control with active status monitoring, integrated data recording and a drive design maximized for efficiency are only some of the innovations in the euro-Maus 3.
Numerous detail improvements in the euro-Tiger V8-3 make it even more economical and efficient and provide even more comfort in professional sugar beet harvesting.
ROPA company demonstration - lifting in snow and enthusiastic guests. Even with the wintry weather and temperatures around freezing more than five thousand visitors cam to the company demonstration at Sittelsdorf. In addition to the demonstration, the event was held under the banner of ROPA's "togetherness". The large number of visitors in the comfortably heated assembly buildings had ample time and opportunity to discuss ideas. And of course there was no shortage of refreshments.
The ROPA NawaRo Maus significantly increases the efficiency of the logistics chain for biogas systems. The euro-NawaRo Maus picks up chaff such as corn silage and wood chips from the clamp at the edge of the field and loads it into high-capacity trucks. The euro-NawaRo Maus can load 10 to 15 m³ per minute into trucks. The current pickup width is 8 m. The great advantage of the design is the separation of the chaff chain in the field from the logistics on the road.
The largest and most spectacular loader of all times. The ROPA euro-Maus 4 is a completely new generation of the self-propelled cleaner loader for sugar beets with completely new dimensions and a pickup system over 10.2 meters wide. Perfected in capacity and efficiency concept combines practice-oriented development with the most recent technical innovations from the ROPA House. The new loader is distinguished by its over 9 m long counterweight arm – designed by Hermann Paintner himself – and offers the best possible stability even at an extended truck loading length.
Crowds at the ROPA demonstration.Significantly more than 10,000 came to the demonstration at ROPA Fahrzeug- und Maschinenbau GmbH in Sittelsdorf, a genuine record. The number of visitors far exceeded the most optimistic expectations. The dry weather, the wide range of exhibits and the demonstrations of the largest cleaning loader yet designed, the ROPA euro-Maus 4, and the completely redesigned biogas system for generating power from sugar beets, were the great attractions of the largest demonstration in the region.
Introduction of the new ROPA euro-Tiger V8-4 topper harvester. The highly efficient euro-Tiger V8 carries out all stages of the harvesting procedure such as topping, lifting and cleaning the beets and final emptying of the bunker onto the pile. The sugar beets are conveyed by a ring elevator and gently loaded into the bunker, which has a load capacity of over 40 m³. Automatically activated bunker unloading is performed in less than a minute. The new Micro-Topper with automatic cutting strength adjustment is now available from ROPA as standard equipment. That means the beet is no longer cut too much. Farmers and machine operators alike welcome this development.
ROPA demonstrates the prototype of the two-axle sugar beet harvester at Beet Europe. The new 2-axle machine is called the euro-Panther and becomes part of the ROPA family of feline predators. After 18 years ROPA is again manufacturing two-axle sugar beet harvesters with a visionary design. Numerous new developments in the ROPA two-axle topper harvester have resulted in improved yield and higher daily performance with efficient sugar beet harvesting combined with soil protection.
More than 12,000 international visitors came to see demonstrations of ROPA innovations. Hermann Paintner also showed the first beet harvester he manufactured in 1972. A comprehensive program with great variety including demonstrations of the new ROPA euro-Panther with two axles and slope compensation, the ROPA-euro-Maus 4 and the mass demonstration of seven sugar beet harvesters from Sittelsdorf in the field simultaneously kept visitors interested. In addition to the demonstrations, the event was held under the banner of ROPA's "togetherness". Visitors had the opportunity to discuss ideas and experiences in the comfortably heated manufacturing buildings with greatly enlarged hospitality areas and a bar.
Presentation of the ROPA Panther as a production model at AgriTechnica. ROPA has given the new two-axle machine "extremely large paws“, automatic wheel load and slope compensation with roll stabilization, super long unloading elevator, to name only a few of the numerous innovations. R-Concept, the new intuitive operation concept in the newly designed R-Cab sets new standards for self-propelled harvesting technology. In summary, new developments in the Panther increase the daily output at reduced operating costs, and simplify maintenance and repair. The operator experiences improved driving comfort with economical, efficient and soil-protective harvesting of sugar beets
The two ROPA Keiler 1 and Keiler 2 potato harvesters were presented to the public at AgriTechnica. The ROPA Keiler 1 is a one-row trailed potato harvester with a 4.3 t or 6.1 t bunker. It has been specifically designed for customers with increased demands for the highest quality (ware potato) and, at the same time, requiring thorough and extremely gentle cleaning and excellent haulm separation. Due to the integrated load-sensing hydraulics the rotational speed of the hedgehog belts, among other things, can be adjusted fully hydraulically. The ROPA Keiler 2 is a completely redesigned potato harvester. A telescopic axle with extra large 750/60R 30.5 or optionally 800/45 R 30.5 tires enables a width of 3.00 meters on the road and the track can be extended to 3.50 meters in the field for greatly improved stability. This results in significantly enhanced safety for staff on the picking table, because even in extremely difficult terrain the risk of rollover is greatly reduced.
ROPA presents for the first time at Beet Europe, the leading trade fair in sugar beet technology, the Tiger 5 the new top class in 3-axle sugar beet harvesters. The advanced chassis system with roll stabilization and slope compensation has already been implemented in the 2-axle ROPA Panther. In the new Tiger 5 this concept has been supplemented with a hydraulic chassis suspension for the rear axles, which was further developed and perfected on three drive axles.
ROPA presented at its open house for the first time the prototype of the new Maus 5 loader. Based on the proven euro-Maus 4, the R-Concept, already familiar in the Panther and Tiger 5, has been integrated and supplemented with numerous comfort functions. Perfected in capacity and efficiency concept with 10.2 m wide pickup system combines practice-oriented developments with the most recent technical innovations from the ROPA House. Specially designed by Hermann Paintner about 9 m long counterweight arm guarantees utmost stability even with a maximum extended loading width.
On 23 November 2014 the traditional company open house with demonstrations of sugar beet harvesting took place in the beet fields around the ROPA plant in Sittelsdorf. More than 20,000 international visitors came on the day for the commissioning of 2.7 ha of new production buildings on 7 ha of new company land. The family company showed off the new assembly center for the first time. A total of € 30 million has been invested in the assembly plant with upstream shot-blasting and powder-coating plants that meet the latest environmental standards. PMB Paintner Maschinenbau GmbH also held an open day for inspection of the advanced metal engineering, frame production, laser cutting and precision CNC machining facilities
ROPA presented for the first time at the largest agricultural trade fair in France the Tiger 5 as the new example of top class of 3-axle sugar beet harvesters. The advanced chassis system with roll stabilization and slope compensation has already been implemented in the 2-axle ROPA Panther. In the new Tiger 5 this concept has been supplemented with a hydraulic chassis suspension for the rear axles, which was further developed and perfected on three drive axles!
The Tiger 5 was given the Machine of the Year 2015 award for the overall design with the new traction system for increased soil protection combined with the R-Concept operating philosophy.
ROPA was awarded a silver medal for innovation for the Tiger 5 with R-Soil Protect at Agritechnica in Hanover.The innovative and advanced traction design is the new standard for sustainable soil protection. The advanced chassis system with roll stabilization and slope compensation was already implemented in the 2-axle ROPA Panther in time for Agritechnica 2013. In the new Tiger 5 this concept has been supplemented with a hydraulic chassis suspension for the rear axles, which was further developed and perfected on three drive axles with the new Cerexbib tires.
The ROPA Tiger 6, the most powerful sugar-beet lifter in the world, will be introduced to the world at the Agrosalon trade fair and it will be awarded a gold medal for innovation for its overall design. The heart of the machine is the new 700 hp or 768 hp engine with pump-nozzle injection and 16.12 liter capacity. Compared to the Tiger 5, power has been increased to 105 kW (142 hp). The new machine design has a perfectly integrated drive system with automatic slope compensation and is extremely gentle on the soil. The more powerful bunker-emptying mechanism provides faster truck loading on the move. The comfort cabin with glass touch terminal, WLAN interface and numerous automatic programs offers top driving comfort for the best lifting results.
ROPA is pushing forward to a new performance dimension with the Panther 2. Sporty modern design with maneuverability and agility combines with a "workhorse" in the new Panther 2 for pure pleasure when lifting beets. There are sufficient power reserves for the most extreme lifting conditions, and using XL lifting attachment demonstrates the centerpiece of it all: the new 700 hp or 768 hp Volvo inline engine with pump-nozzle injection and 16.12 liter capacity. The award winning and soil-protecting chassis system with roll stabilization and automatic slope compensation have been flawlessly integrated into the new machine design. The unloading conveyor derived from the Tiger 6 with a more powerful hopper emptying facilitates quicker loading during the drive. The new comfort cabin with glass touch terminal and numerous automatic programs is the basis for outstanding driving comfort and the best lifting results.
On Sunday, November 20, 2016, the traditional company open house with demonstrations of sugar beet harvesting was opened at 10 a.m. at the ROPA plant in Sittelsdorf. This time the 30th anniversary of the ROPA company was celebrated with 12,000 to 15,000 visitors. Various self-propelled machines, including the introduction of the new Tiger 6 and Panther 2 sugar beet harvesters, were in operation on the fields around the ROPA factory. The sugar beets were loaded directly after harvesting with the spectacular ROPA Maus 5 and shredded and silaged at the experimental pilot biogas plant.
At the largest agricultural technology trade show in France, Sima in Paris, the ROPA France team presented the latest sugar beet and potato harvesting technology, as well as Albach chipper. The two new sugar beet lifters Tiger 6 and Panther 2 celebrated their premiere at Sima. The heart of both models in the new design is the new 700 hp or 768 hp Volvo engine with pump-nozzle injection and 16.12 liter capacity. The ROPA Keiler potato harvester won people over with its high-quality processing, fully hydraulic drive, and numerous technical unique selling points.
At Agritechnica in Hanover, ROPA and Farmpilot presented a comprehensive system solution for networking of all parties involved in order data management in sugar beet harvesting and removal logistics.
R-Connect farmpilot is an intelligently networked and company-spanning farm and logistics management system for essentially increasing efficiency in sugar beet logistics. Thanks to the system-spanning networking, the planning and order data is available immediately to all parties involved without transmission errors. The live transfer from the machine terminal with display of harvesting settings, sensor values, and playback function sets new standards.
With 2,803 exhibitors and more than 450,000 visitors AGRITECHNICA continues to expand its role as the leading trade fair for agriculture and agricultural technology.
ROPA is presenting the company's premium products and the latest innovations in the field of self-propelled sugar beet harvesters, loaders and the Keiler potato harvester at a large booth covering a total area of 1359 m². With the ROPA Panther 2 with RR-XL lifter, the R-Connect Farmpilot, the drive axle with ISO-BUS automatic controls in the Keiler 2 and technical innovations on the Tiger 6 there is much to see at Agritechnica.
ROPA wins the Red Dot Design Award 2018 for outstanding product design with the Tiger 6
The Red Dot Jury has handed down its decision: after detailed testing of all submitted products over several days of evaluation, the ROPA Tiger 6 has been awarded the "Red Dot" in the Design Award 2018. The committee of experts only awards the internationally acknowledged seal of quality to products that combine innovation with a high degree of design quality. The Red Dot is an award for high quality of design combined with practical innovation.
ROPA Keiler 2 L with overloading bunker - non-stop harvesting
At Potato Europe in Bockerode and for the ROPA in-house demonstration at ROPA Rhineland in Viersen-Boisheim, ROPA presented the new Keiler 2L with overloading bunker in practical application for the first time. The ROPA Keiler 2L is a 2-row trailed potato harvester with 5.5 t overloading bunker. As well as new details, the Keiler 2L, like the proven Keiler 2, has a fully hydraulic drive for optimal adjustment for cleaning. The Keiler 2L operates independently of the PTO speed and thus maintains all cleaning units in the optimal speed range. The result is reduced engine rpm of the tractor for low vibration and less noise during harvesting with low fuel consumption.
ROPA demonstration 2018 - opening of ROPA Rhineland location
Potato and sugar beet harvesting at the same time in a field near the plant premises - this was the premiere at the demonstration and location opening of ROPA Rhineland. More than 5000 enthusiastic visitors experienced the practical application up-close and personal in the field directly adjacent to the 2.5 ha premises of ROPA Rhineland. Several sugar beet harvesters, the ROPA Maus 5, and various potato harvesters were in action at the same time. A particular highlight was the plant premiere of the Keiler 2L 2-row potato harvester with 5.5 t overloading bunker. Non-stop harvesting with simultaneous overloading on a trailer driving alongside enables significantly increased performance.
ROPA is the winner of the Automotive Brand Contest
At the IAA Frankfurt International Auto Show, ROPA won an award in the Automotive Brand Contest in the area of Connectivity and Commercial Vehicles. The international jury regards ROPA as a pioneer and innovator in vehicle construction and especially in agricultural technology. The new ROPA Tiger 6S is the product of digitalization and at the same time, the embodiment of agriculture 4.0. ROPA already offers extensive driver assistance systems and is at the same time a pioneer with regard to partially autonomous sugar beet harvesting. This award underscores the leading role of the world market leader in sugar beet harvesting technology, especially in the areas of digitalization and networking.
ROPA Kartoffelmaus - premiere prototype in use
As part of the Lower Bavarian Potato Day in Greilsberg, ROPA presented a prototype of the ROPA Kartoffelmaus for loading starch potatoes in live usage for the first time.
ROPA presents the new Keiler 2 Classic - Premiere at Potato Europe
ROPA is expanding its line of two-row complete potato harvesters to include the Keiler II Classic model, which will be available in series production for the 2020 harvest. After several years of field tests, the model will be available as a pre-series for the 2019 season in parts of Europe.
The new machine is generally similar to the well-known Keiler 2. The main difference is the separating systems. With the Classic, there are two instead of four hedgehog belts. The Classic has a very generous sorting platform, which accommodates up to 8 people on the gently ascending, large picking conveyor with an optional trash track. With the extendable platform, in addition to the trash track, the machine offers sufficient comfort for picking personnel.
ROPA Tiger 6S - still more efficiency paired with digital networking in the world's highest-performance sugar beet harvester from the world market leader
ROPA is expanding its self-driving sugar beet harvester segment to include the Tiger 6S model, which will be available in series production for the 2020 harvest. After several years of field tests, the model will be available as a pre-series for the 2019 season in parts of Europe. A new generation of extremely high-performance on-board computers is the basis for telematics, predictive analytics, online diagnostics, and partially autonomous sugar beet harvesting. The Tiger 6S dominates the premium segment of the market and with its visionary computer architecture is much more than the technical and visual enhancement of the current Tiger 6.
With the Tiger 6S, ROPA presented two new developments that automatically adjust the working depths of the harvesting attachment.
• R-Trim - automatic adjustment of the defoliator height
• R-Contour - automatic share depth adjustment of the individual rows at the RR lifting unit
Both systems adapt their working depth to the changing conditions in the beet crop throughout the field.
Agritechnica 2019 - two silver medals for ROPA
With 450,000 visitors, of whom more than 130,000 come from abroad, and 2,820 exhibitors, Agritechnica came to a successful conclusion on November 16. For a whole week, it was devoted to the challenges and future questions of the industry. ROPA is presenting the company's premium products and the latest innovations in the field of self-propelled sugar beet harvesters, loaders and the Keiler potato harvester at a large booth covering a total area of 1359 m².
ROPA was able to celebrate silver medals awarded to the potato press on the Keiler 2 potato harvester and the R-Connect monitor on the Tiger 6S.
ROPA haulm topper KS 475
ROPA expands its product range with a 4-row haulm topper designed to prepare the crop for harvesting. The ROPA haulm topper offers an excellent solution in order to minimize or avoid the use of pesticides for haulm control. The potato haulm is chopped safely and efficiently. Thus, the harvesting becomes easier and the skin firmness of the potato is enhanced. The chopped potato haulm is deposited between the ridges. Other advantages of the ROPA haulm topper include a reduced risk of blockage at the lifting unit and increased throughput.
ROPA Kartoffelmaus 5 - series model
The potato loader Kartoffelmaus 5 has been designed by ROPA on the basis of the Maus 5 series model. A prototype of the potato loader was presented for the first time at the last Agritechnica. Since summer 2020 two potato loaders have been in operation at two companies: the Südstärke in Sünching (Bavaria) and the Emsland Group in the Kyritz area (Brandenburg).
The potato loader helps to increase efficiency and profitability of the starch potato logistics. Moreover, farmers can expand the scale of potato cultivation without having to invest in storage capacities at the same time. Positive results have also been shown with the loading of table potatoes, which are processed directly after delivery.
ROPA presents the new Panther 2S – greatly improved efficiency paired with digital networking in the most powerful two-axle sugar-beet lifter worldwide from the market leader
Sporty modern design with maneuverability and agility combines with a "workhorse" in the new Panther 2S for pure pleasure when lifting beets. There are sufficient power reserves for the most extreme lifting conditions, and using XL lifting attachment demonstrates the centerpiece of it all: the new 796 hp / 585 kW Volvo Penta inline engine with a maximum torque of 3,650 Nm and 16.12 liter capacity. The award winning and soil-protecting chassis system with roll stabilization and automatic slope compensation have been flawlessly integrated into the new machine design. A new generation of extremely high-performance computers forms the center for telematics, predictive analytics, online diagnostics and assistance systems for partially autonomous sugar-beet harvesting, just like in the Tiger 6S. The Panther 2S now occupies the premium segment of the two-axle market and, with its visionary computer architecture, is clearly more than just a technical and visual further development of the current Panther 2.
The market leader ROPA presents the new Maus 6
With a significantly larger cabin and a premium-class networked terminal
The new ROPA Maus 6 is more than the fusion of the visionary developments of the Tiger 6S and Panther 2S with the proven, robust and durable components of the Maus 5. The new premium model from the technology leader in the beet harvesting combines field-proven technical solutions with the modern design.
Perfected in capacity and efficiency concept with 10.2 m wide pickup system combines practice-oriented developments with the most recent technical innovations from ROPA. The new exterior design of the ROPA Maus 6 symbolizes digitalization and Agriculture 4.0. The light-blue line represents the networking of the Maus internally and externally with the myROPA online portal and R-Connect. A new generation of extremely high-performance computers forms the center for telematics, predictive analytics and online diagnostics, just like in the Tiger 6S. The machine software for the new Maus 6 is completely developed at ROPA in Sittelsdorf and offers a number of new useful functions.