Metal Image – Innovation and Success in Metal Printing
The story of Metal Image is a story of business innovation and success that has led us to become one of New Zealand’s leading metal printing specialists – we are proud of what we do, we enjoy what we do, and we’re great at it!
Based on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand, Metal Image’s story began in 1974, in a cramped bathroom converted into a darkroom in a home in a semi-suburban street in Mt Eden.
Steady growth led to a shift to Auckland’s North Shore in 1977 as a part of the EMC group of companies. By 1998 Metal Image had moved into onto a larger purpose built facility in Albany.
Throughout this early period, all our print processes were based around the MetalPhoto family of products.
Metal Printing goes Colour
The late 90’s saw the beginning of a progressive change of ownership to Andrew and Donna Robbie. This was completed in mid-2004.
To keep pace with the growth of the business, it was necessary for Metal Image to become more automated.
A purpose built guillotine known as ‘The Jezebel’ was installed. This was followed by an entirely new plate processing system, laser imaging and digital print processes. The big change came, however, with our expanding partnership with PolyChromal BV of Holland Suddenly, the world of aluminium printing moved to colour.
Metal Image Today
In December 2004, the sudden passing of Mr Willi Gailer, company founder, electro/audiophile, fly fisherman extraordinaire and valued mentor, brought and an end of an era for Metal Image. A true gentleman, Willi had provided thirty years of considered and steady leadership. He left us with a legacy of honest, good service, and attention to detail – attributes which form the cornerstone of Metal Image today.
Recently Metal Image celebrated 40 years of service. We continue to embrace ground-breaking technologies while, at the same time, making a surprise return to an older technology in the form of a Heidelberg die-cutting press. Many of our customers are now enjoying the efficiency offered by die-cut labelling.
Metal Image is committed to staying at the cutting edge of technology and innovation in the field of Metal Printing and Durable Product Identification. We look forward to offering new products and evolutions of our existing ones, and to being of further service to you.
Managing Director, June 2016.
Metal Image today - August 2020
In sitting down to write this long overdue update, this snapshot of Metal Image today, it’s amazing to see what a transformation has taken place ‘on my watch’. Since starting as the only full-time employee in 1988 an extraordinary evolution has taken place. Although the Team is still small, its seven times larger than when I started. We may be little, but we love to think large, then pivot and charge.
With this approach we’ve successfully ushered in the digital age – a transition that saw many businesses in the print industry fail, or get gobbled up. We remain a family business, and proud of our independence. Guillotines and punches have given way to the versatility of lasers, as have imaging processes. Black and grey has exploded into glorious colour. Our new stainless steel and direct marking offerings are leaping off the back of our investment in fibre laser marking. We are the disruptors, we lead the charge.
I wondered today though where have all those old skills gone? The answer is nowhere. They too have evolved. We still practice our unique craft. It still takes real people with genuine passion and dedication to do what we do. New skills are developed and the quality of what we do just gets better and better. There is nothing accidental here, because this is about attitude and intent – always do your best, then improve on it.
We all stand at a cusp point in time that will long be remembered. I want to be able to look back what I’ve written today from beyond these unprecedented times and say, well, that worked. Maybe not quite how we thought, but we reached our BHAGs. And not only did we endure, but we thrived. And just look at where we are now.
I hope you’ll be with us for the ride.
Metal Image 2022
And what a ride it’s been. In terms of a test of resilience, dedication and just shear grit I am absolutely humbled to be able to lead what I believe is the largest small team in the world. Nobody could have pictured the difficult road ahead of us but together we have endured some very trying days. At the time of writing, we are confident that the light we can see at the end of the tunnel is not a train coming the other way.
As Metal Image eyes up 50 years of service for size we continue to embrace ground-breaking technologies. We are at the leading edge of laser cutting and marking, and the robots are coming. At the same time we’re keeping a steady grip on older technology in the form of our much loved Heidelberg die-cutting press, guillotines and hole punches. These oldies have stepped in the save the day on more than one occasion.
After twenty years of dedicated hard work from the bottom up Daniel Neilson recently purchased shares in the business. A new chapter in the Story of Metal Image is beginning as Dan and I explore the power of our new partnership.
We set out together as a team with intent, not just to endure but to thrive. We’ve done so, and look to the future with excitement. Our innovative approach to problem solving for our amazingly diverse and wonderful customers sets new challenges for us every day – and so our mission continues.
Durable Images Delivered with Passion and Precision.
CEO, September 2022