HODGE BACK AT DAVIS-STANDARD

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PAWCATUCK, CONN. — Al Hodge is back in the fold at machinery maker Davis-Standard Corp., just a few weeks after he and two other top Davis-Standard officials left to form an upstart U.S. operation for a German competitor.

Davis-Standard spokeswoman Diane Beaulieu confirmed Feb. 5 that Hodge has returned to the Pawcatuck machinery maker. His title is vice president of sales and engineering.

In January, Hodge and two Davis-Standard veterans, Bill Kramer, Davis-Standard's technical director, and Ed Steward, chief process consultant, left Davis-Standard to establish the U.S. operation of Kuhne GmbH in Norwich, Conn.

Kuhne, based in St. Augustin, Germany, makes single-screw extruders — a market Davis-Standard dominates in the United States.

Kramer and Steward have remained at the startup, called American Kuhne Inc., which has plans to manufacture extruders in the United States.

Hodge said, ``The door had always been left open at Davis and after evaluating the situation, I really felt that my best interests would be served at Davis-Standard. ... I'm quite content at Davis.''

Kramer said,``The whys just deal with his own personal choices and really don't reflect anything to do with [American Kuhne].''

Meanwhile, American Kuhne is working on plans to exhibit at NPE '97, June 16-20 in Chicago.

``Ed Steward and I are still with American Kuhne, and our outlook and our mission are really unchanged,'' Kramer said.

The company is concentrating on product development and starting up a laboratory, he said.

Davis-Standard is a unit of Crompton & Knowles Corp. of Stamford, Conn.