Frecon Company was started in 1960 on my kitchen table. My first product was called the “Bug Stopper”. The name, Frecon, was derived by taking the first three letters of my wife’s name and mine. We have used various versions of Frecon throughout the years.
Frecon Engineering was started on December 1, 1965. We rented 1200 square feet from Art Stamping which was located in Golf Manor. I hired Jerry Maxwell (the gentleman who taught me the die-making trade), and one apprentice three months after the doors were opened. The majority of the dies we made were for the Metal Stamping Industry.
Our research led us to the development of our Tile Die Business. In 1967, we rented an additional 1200 square feet at the same location and employed four people. In the remainder of the late 60’s, we phased out of stamping dies and moved into serving the Ceramic Tile Industry. Our reputation grew rapidly and we became the leading supplier of mosaic tile dies. To keep up with the demand, we increased our workforce (8 employees) which required us to find a larger facility. In 1969 we moved to our present location of 6000 square feet located North of Cincinnati.
In 1970, we focused our talents on the refractory brick industry. Our engineering approach to solving their problems was very successful; and it is still a major part of our business. In 1971, we expanded into designing and building special machinery. Our products were well accepted and all went well for two years. A recession occurred and we discontinued special machinery.
We bought our first NC machine in 1975 and the second one in 1979. We spent about 3% of our annual income on development of steels, processes and products to maintain our competitive edge. We invested 8% of our annual sales into new equipment and the maintenance of the old. We have been and continue to be an innovative leader in our field of business. We have developed processes that are unique to us and established ourselves as a respected leader and a company that our customers can rely upon.
In 1981 and 1982 we lost five customers, four to bankruptcy and one who just couldn’t pay the invoices and work in progress. Recovery was stymied by recession that existed in our industry. Through hard effort and kindness from some of our best customers, we started to recover. However, as the ceramic industry started to decline again, we were hit with and additional $380,000.00 in customer bankruptcies. As a result of these bankruptcies, we needed to look for a new source of revenue and in 2000, we changed the course of the company and its name to Frecon Technologies, Inc.
To accommodate this change, we purchased several pieces of CNC Turning equipment and a Coordinate Measuring Machine. As with any major change, it took us time to achieve success, but in 2002 we did – the company was profitable. But as we moved into 2003, most of our customers felt the slowing economy and our sales dropped more than 50%.
2003 through the beginning of 2006 were difficult years. Not only was the Ceramic, Clay and Concrete industries hit with a recession, but the metalworking industry was hit with increased metal costs, fuel costs and metal shortages. We managed to work through it by adjusting our equipment and employee levels to reduce costs. In late 2005, the housing industry began to pick up. People were building new homes and companies were building new facilities thus causing the Ceramic, Clay and Concrete industries to improve. Then in early 2006, we received a large order for CNC machined parts and have been growing stronger and better since.
At the beginning of 2007, my son Ed joined the organization. He brought in a new perspective and enthusiasm for improving our manufacturing processes. In addition we have purchased new equipment, a Waterjet, computerized saw, a Bridgeport mill and others. We have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about making CNC machined parts and continue to strive for excellence and more efficient methods of manufacturing. As Ed took on more and more of the responsibilities for the CNC machining side of Frecon Technologies, Inc., I was able to concentrate on the Ceramic, Clay and Concrete side.
In 2009, we added a Laser Cutting Machine to keep us competitive and move use to another level of providing our customers with more efficient and faster methods of processing their parts. With this equipment addition, and our determination to keep costs down as much as possible, we doubled our sales from 2007.
As we all know, the end of 2009 and 2010, so far, has been an economical test of survival. One week would be really busy and the next week we wondered if we had enough work to keep our employees. Sales are down, but we are still profitable and looking for ways to reduce cost more and provide our customer with better parts and service.
In July, my other son, Joe, joined us. His background in Aerospace manufacturing, supervisory capability (200 employees) and design engineering ability will take Frecon Technologies, Inc. into the next level of growth. His knowledge, experience and technical expertise in the latest technology of computers and CNC machining will help to keep us on the cutting edge and keep us very competitive. It will also put us in a strong position to broaden our machining capabilities which will provide our customers with better parts. Joe will also begin taking more responsibility for the Ceramic, Clay and Concrete side. This will give me more time to increase our customer base in both areas of Frecon Technologies, Inc.
In November 2010 we added a Nakamura-Tome CNC turning Center. It is a 9-axis lathe which can do complex parts using 2 spindles and 2 turrets that work independently and simultaneously. It has the capacity of cutting ½” bars up to and including 3” bars of all types of material. This CNC turning center is extremely accurate, and extends our flexibility and versatility in machining parts. The addition of this machine positions us to service more of our clients needs through expanded capabilities and increased capacity.
We know that the future holds many challenges, especially with the health care law, the possibility of higher taxes, a large national deficit and the devaluing of the dollar. But we are optimistic about the coming years. We thank God for His blessings and have confidence in the American people and their determination to remain a free and enterprising people.