GERMANY • Gerhard Metz, founder of the IST Metz group, died November 18th following a short illness. He and his wife Renate built up the company, based in Nürtingen-Zizishausen, into a manufacturer of UV systems with international success and reputation. Gerhard Metz has to be considered a pioneer of the UV sector, someone with key involvement in ensuring the successful establishment of this technology.
In his birthplace of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, he initially completed an apprenticeship as a fitter and then from 1953 onwards obtained three engineering qualifications at once and was one of the first engineers in the GDR to work on jet engines for planes. When this programme was scrapped in early 1961, a move to the West was more than just a career issue for Gerhard Metz and his wife. Their escape to West Berlin shortly before the wall went up finally led them to Nürtingen, where Gerhard Metz once again found work as an engine test bench engineer.
His next stop was the appointment in 1966 to Hildebrand, a company where he initially worked as an assistant to the board and then as design manager and Deputy Managing Director. It was here that Gerhard Metz developed the first systems for curing surface coatings using UV light. These systems were so successful that an independent company was founded, initially under the management of Hildebrand and a partner. Gerhard Metz finally took over completely when Hildebrand went into liquidation in 1982. The UV curing systems business continued to grow steadily, and the group now comprises 16 companies, including subsidiaries all over the world.
In 2000, he was awarded the “Wirtschaftsmedaille”, a medal in recognition of his services to commerce in the Baden-Württemberg region. In 2001, he received further acknowledgement of his life’s work when he was appointed Honorary President of the surface treatment technology section of the Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V. (German Engineering Association, VDMA).
After retiring from business operations, Gerhard Metz continued to maintain links with IST Metz on a regular basis.