Schwing founder enters Equipment Hall of Fame

Friedrich W. Schwing, Sr. (1909–1992), who built a company synonymous with concrete placement and secured more than 100 patents covering material handling and construction equipment innovations, is a 2013 inductee to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers Hall of Fame.

Schwing America CEO Brian Hazelton accepted an award during the AEM annual convention, held last month in Orlando. The Schwing name joins a notable list of recipients, including Case, Barber, Deere, Grove, Harnishfeger, and Liebherr who, the association notes, “Individually and collectively represent some of the best, brightest and most influential minds in the history of the off-road equipment industry.”

Most notable among the F.W. Schwing, Sr. patents is an all-hydraulic, twin-cylinder pump design powering the majority of modern models. It established a new method for moving concrete through a pipeline, netting structures that could not have been built with alternative placing methods. His invention ushered concrete construction efficiency, with limited manual labor and unprecedented mix placement speed. 

Schwing began his career by designing a climbing crane the construction industry embraced. That success inspired him to develop an alternative to the bucket method of concrete delivery. Decades later, after many advances in stationary and boom pump models, he engineered a drum-style ready mixed reclaimer capable of full recycling of aggregate, cement and water from returned concrete mixes and truck or concrete pump washout.

Schwing GmbH was founded in Germany in 1934; the Schwing America subsidiary followed 40 years later. F.W. Schwing, Sr. aimed his engineering expertise at equipment performance and operator safety. In tandem with gaining a North American market foothold, he helped establish the American Concrete Pumping Association in 1974, where safe equipment operation and standards remain a key focus. He instilled across his enterprise a commitment to advancing safety guidelines, seminars, and materials. In the Winter 1992 edition of Concrete Pumping magazine, ACPA President Bob Ober noted that F.W. Schwing, Sr. would be remembered as a pioneer in the industry, “a Thomas Edison of the modern concrete machinery business.”

His passing occurred a decade after he turned over day-to-day operations to sons Friedrich and Gerhard. The latter remains directly involved in the company, as Schwing America’s Hazelton noted during the AEM award presentation. “It is hard to imagine that one man could improve construction methods in such a profound way. It is my honor to accept this award on behalf of the Schwing family that still embodies the work ethic and corporate responsibility of Mr. Schwing, Sr.,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of an organization that carries on the family tradition of innovation, integrity and quality.”

Judges for the 2013 nominees found F.W. Schwing, Sr. excelled in innovation and the four other AEM Hall of Fame criteria: industry contributions, leadership, corporate citizenship/social responsibility, and sustainability.