Dover Flexo Electronics - What's in a Name?

DFE celebrated the company's 40th Anniversary in 2014.

We're proud of the long years of service to our loyal and innovative customers in the converting, printing and industrial processing industries. So, a giant shoutout of Thanks and our sincerest Gratitude goes out to all of you who have contributed to our sucess throughout the years! We could not have survived or prospered without you.

As employees of Dover Flexo Electronics, we're thankful to see that Mr. Kenneth Ekola, the company's founder and original CEO, is still young, healthy, energetic and willing to continue to lead this dynamic and quality-focused engineering and manufacturing operation forward.

When reflecting on this momentous anniversary, Ken was kind enough to share the startup story of this industrial machinery leader based in Rochester, NH, USA. Here it is:

Dover Flexo Electronics, Inc. That is an unusual name. Where did it come from?

DFE was born in 1974. Back then, there was only one tension equipment manufacturer, the Kidder Press Company in Dover, NH. Kidder was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Moore Business Forms. Their mission was to manufacture printing presses, slitters, collators and other equipment that Moore needed to operate their business. The Moore equipment was sold only to Moore's printing plants. Kidder also designed, built and developed flexographic printing presses for sale to the general market. This kept the manufacturing and engineering groups busy during those times when Moore didn't need new equipment. A common requirement between the two product lines was the need for web tension control. The Kidder R&D department developed the first practical tension transducers in the late 1960's and they were used with controllers and indicators on all Kidder machines that had a need for them. Kidder established a service group that installed and serviced the tension equipment in the field and did order entry and trouble shooting by telephone in Dover. In the early 1970's Kidder sold the tension business and re-assigned the people involved in it. The new owner had no experience in tension measurement or control, so that left lots of customers without any support. That's when DFE stepped in and provided the necessary services.

But what to call the new Company? We had a business advisor who had run an industrial manufacturing business for many years. He said the customers were already accustomed to calling "Dover" NH for their needs, so Dover should be a part of the name. Most of the tension equipment was sold to customers in the flexographic printing market. So, "Flexo" should be included in the name to make people comfortable with the new Company. And, of course, electronics was what we worked on. Hence, the name Dover Flexo Electronics.

Incidentally, we have never been located in Dover, NH. We started in Somersworth, NH and moved to Rochester, NH where we are today. And we have never had any connection with the Dover Corporation.

Ken Ekola

See the time line of Major Events at DFE since the inception.

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