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Obituary: Rob Freeman, MBE, founder of Vision Engineering Ltd

By August 29, 2017News Releases

Rob Freeman, MBE, company founder and innovator of ergonomic microscopes and measurement systems, sadly passed away on 19th August, aged 84.

Send, Woking,  21st August 2017: Vision Engineering Ltd, a manufacturer of ground-breaking ergonomic microscopes and measurement systems, has announced that its founder and chairman, Rob Freeman, MBE, passed away on 19th August, aged 84.

Rob Freeman, born in 1933 in Singapore, grew up in Woking, Surrey and was a toolmaker who worked as a race mechanic with the Jaguar Racing team in the 1950s. He developed a borescope that enabled internal race engine components to be inspected, without taking the engine apart. This innovation led to the foundation of Vision Engineering in 1958.

The company is now an award-winning manufacturer holding several patents for its ergonomic microscopes and measurement systems, which are used extensively by manufacturers in the electronics, automotive and aerospace industries. The company has grown to be a global leader in its field and employs more than 220 staff worldwide, with offices across Europe, North America, Mexico, China, India and Japan.

In 1996, Rob was awarded the MBE, in recognition of his services to the British optical industry.

On 13th June 2017, Rob Freeman presided over the opening of the Freeman Building, Vision Engineering’s purpose-built global headquarters, manufacturing and R&D facility, in Send, Woking, UK. The new building, close to the site of the original 1950s factory, is named after Rob Freeman and was officially opened by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and the Mayor of Guildford.

Mark Curtis, managing director, on behalf of the staff of Vision Engineering, commented:

We are extremely saddened by the death of our company founder, Rob Freeman. He was a true pioneer of engineering who learnt his trade during the glory days of British car racing and aerospace and whose dynamism, grit and ingenuity created a thriving business, which continues to grow and innovate today.

Rob enjoyed a challenge and was an early leader in the development of overseas technical markets, to the point where 92% of the company’s turnover comes from export. It was a great privilege and pleasure to work with him and we are glad that he was able to see the completion of the building dedicated to his legacy. We extend our deepest sympathies to Rob’s family, colleagues and many friends, who remember him with great fondness.”

Vision Engineering holds several patents on its high-tech optical and digital systems, which it supplies to organisations all over the world in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, medical and telecoms manufacturing sectors, which require high specification, ergonomic inspection and measurement systems.

The company achieved the Queen’s Award for Technology in 1974 and the Queen’s Award for Export in 1991.

Employing 120 people at its headquarters in Send near Guildford and more than 220 staff worldwide, as well as a fully trained global distribution network, Vision Engineering is the only manufacturer of stereo microscopes in the UK. Vision Engineering is also a world leader in digital and measurement technologies and exports 92 % of the products developed and manufactured at its new, purpose-built facility, the Freeman Building and at its sister facility in Connecticut USA.