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!

Small Beginnings

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.

Andrew Robbie
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.

Andrew Robbie
Managing Director