Freeman Schwabe is a high-tech manufacturer with its roots planted firmly in the Cincinnati machine-making tradition. FS makes the machines for the industrial die-cutting and plastic-card industries and provides parts and service for more than 12,000 of its machines around the world. The magnetic strips on the back of the Ohio drivers’ licenses, for example, are put on by a Freeman Schwabe machine, and the company is a global leader in providing die-cutting machinery for automotive interior fabrics.
Other industries that use Freeman Schwabe machines for cutting include sporting goods (footballs and basketballs), leather, furniture, medical products and envelopes. Its customers include companies such as General Electric, Goodyear, Firestone, Johnson Controls, 3M and Kodak. "There is demand for our products throughout the world," says President Greg DeFisher.
Its history dates to 1892 and the Freeman Co., a manufacturer and distributor of industrial die-cutting machines. In the 21st century, the firm decided to shed its manufacturing division, and DeFisher, then CEO of the division, led a management buyout, renaming it Freeman Schwabe Machinery (the firm had purchased the Herman Schwabe Co. out of bankruptcy in 2002.)
Today, Freeman Schwabe has seen growth of 100 percent in 2007 and 35 percent in 2008. That rapid growth required a recent move to larger quarters in Clermont County's Union Township, where building plans allow for eventual expansion to 50,000 square feet. DeFisher’s company is also expanding its international sales, as he is currently establishing a market in China and is pursuing contracts in Eastern Europe. The company has recently grown from 13 to 20 employees.