With the fall of the Berlin Wall, former East German harvesting specialist Fortschritt became MDW, and
developed combines with more style, quality and technology. Introduced back in 1991, the Erntemeister
(Harvest Master) 527 and smaller 525 made sufficient impression on Case Corporation that it later bought
the business to add straw walker machines to its Axial-Flow offering.
After being separated in 1990 from the former East German farm equipment manufacturer VEB Fortschritt, the MDW business, based in Singwitz, near the eastern Saxony town of Bautzen, entered the combine market for the 1991 harvest season. In its range were three revised combines: the E514 and the E524, each with a 1.30m wide concave and four straw walkers, and the E527 with a 1.63m channel width and five straw walkers.
Under importer Bonhill, the East German combines had enjoyed some success in certain parts of the UK. For manufacturing reasons, the individual straw walkers inside the MDW were unusually wide at 325mm, an odd match for the concave width and the size of the separation and sieving areas. By the time the new 527 went on sale in 1993, however, MDW had switched to narrower straw walkers, which then made the machine a true six walker combine.