50 years of self-propelled Grimme harvesters

It is nearly 50 years since Franz Grimme senior, father of the current owner Franz Grimme, combined the front part of a Deutz tractor with a single-row Europa potato harvester in 1969 to create the company’s first self-propelled harvester.

by Steven Vale

21 Dec 2018

The rear wheels of the tractor were dismantled and fitted to the modified axle of the harvester, and the transmission was a simple chain driven version. Dogged by bad luck from the start, the SF 1969 later fell into a harbour basin where it still lies today.

A second prototype was combined with an MF tractor, and the next self-propelled version, the DS Series, was the first in-house developed two-row self-propelled potato harvester.

Powered by a 100hp Deutz block, the DS 100 had a 3.5t bunker, and to mark Grimme’s 150th anniversary in 2011, staff presented Mr Grimme with a completely refurbished DS 100, which is now on display at the Damme facility.

An elevator harvester was also produced. Called the DS 80, it was powered by an 80hp Deutz block, and by 1985, more than 250 DS 80 units had been built.

In 1988, the third generation followed with the two-row DLS 1700 with an overloading elevator, and a machine built until 1994. The demand for self-propelled harvesting technology slumped in the mid-90s, there was no immediate successor to the DLS 1700.

Launched in 1988, the DLS 1700 was made until 1994.

In 1997, the trailed SE 150-60 two-row bunker harvester with the patented SE system (inclined elevator with haulm separation), was launched, and it was not long before potential customers were asking for a self-propelled version.

Ready the next year (1998), the SF 150-60 prototype had a 280hp engine. A year later it was joined by the SF 3000, a four-row self-propelled harvester with a 326hp engine, its sliding cab providing the operator with a good view of the digging unit and intake. The digging technology was based on the four-row trailed version, which is still built today as the GV 3000.

Launched in 1999, the SF 3000 was a four-row harvester with a 326hp engine.

2001 saw the launch of two-row versions of the SF 1700 DLS and SF 1700 GBS (built until 2008-2009 respectively), and the rubber-tracked 490hp Tectron 415 (15t bunker). It was followed by the Tectron 410 (10t bunker) in 2009.

The Varitron story began in 2007 with a basic two-row machine, and at the 2011 Agritechnica showed a four-row version with a 7t bunker. In 2017, the Grimme family came with a new harvesting flagship in the form of the four-row Ventor 4150 (15t bunker).

Launched in 2017, the four-row Ventor 4150 has a 15t bunker.

In 2003 Grimme added sugar beet harvesters to the mix and launched the Maxtron 620, a six-row beet harvester with 20t bunker. In 2009, the company launched the twin-axle Rexor 620 (20t bunker) followed four years later by the triple-axle Rexor 630 (30t bunker).

The Platinum versions of the latest Rexors are powered by 653hp Mercedes-Benz Stage V engines.

At the Grimme Technica last month the firm showed new Platinum versions of the two harvesters, both of which are powered by 653hp Mercedes-Benz Stage V engines (more details in the New Year).

The company reckons to have made more than 2,000 self-propelled harvesters during the past 50 years.