ROPA continues to build new harvesters

The Corona (Covid-19) outbreak has forced a long list of tractor and machine manufacturers to wind down their European operations, but German sugar beet and potato harvester maker ROPA is still making new machines.

by Steven Vale

26 Mar 2020

The Sittelsdorf-based company is in the fortunate position that it does not operate a ‘just in time’ policy for the components it needs to build new machines, but stocks as many as it can in advance.

This advanced stocking policy is certainly paying dividends during the Covid-19 situation and the company is working hard to ensure new machines ordered for this season’s harvest are ready. The company reckons to have enough components to continue assembling new machines up until the end of April when it hopes to receive new parts stocks.

The German manufacturer has already taken numerous measures to protect its 380 staff, none of which have yet to contract the virus. This week additional changes to further minimise the risk to staff include, where possible, splitting the workforce in different shifts. A number of parts transfer points have also been installed between the various departments.

“This should help to further reduce the risk of an infection and we try to keep staff as far away from one another in the assembly building as possible,” says ROPA’s Maximilian Englbrecht. “We hope to return to the normal shift time as soon as we can but are not sure how long we will operate in safety mode. In the worst case scenario it could be for weeks.”

Production of this year’s Maus self-propelled sugar beet loaders is nearing completion, and the company is now cracking on with this season’s potato and sugar beet harvesters. “We must make and deliver new machines,” he adds. “Farmers cannot wait for a new potato harvester when the crops are ready.”

The plan is to deliver new harvesters earlier than normal. “No-one knows what is going to happen in the future and whether we could see road transport restrictions.”

Whatever the outcome, the company is doing all it can to ensure that machines, parts and service will always be available for UK customers.