Vision Engineering Ltd is a leading-edge manufacturer of patented optical and digital stereo microscopes and non-contact measuring systems.

Vision Engineering was founded in 1958 by Rob Freeman MBE (1933-2017). Rob studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, and started working at Kenwood’s mixers, as a machinist. He then joined Jaguar Racing, as a racing mechanic, supporting cars in races all over Europe and North Africa.


Whilst at Jaguar, Rob developed a borescope for inspecting internal race engine parts without the need for disassembly.

Subsequently he formed Vision Engineering Ltd as a means of developing his interest in optics applied to manufacturing technology.

The company started off as a specialist optical sub-contractor to large British companies including Rolls Royce, Vickers, Ferranti and GEC.

Rob registered numerous patents, received two Queen’s awards, and was awarded the MBE for his services to the British optical industry in 1995.

World’s first ‘eyepiece-less’ stereo microscope

In 1994 Vision Engineering introduced the World’s first ‘eyepiece-less’ stereo microscope, the original Mantis, designed to fill the gap between a bench magnifier and a microscope.

It was an ergonomic revolution that went on to win numerous design and innovation awards and was featured on the BBC TV programme Tomorrow’s World. Mantis quickly became the new benchmark for high performance ergonomic stereo magnification.


Increasing operator performance

Since then, Vision Engineering has pursued a corporate design and innovation policy that concentrates on optimising operator performance when using optical, and more recently, digital systems in the manufacturing sectors and industries.

Over the years, Vision Engineering has delivered a range of leading-edge stereo inspection and optical measurement products that have helped improved productivity and quality for thousands of companies the world over.

Improved magnification from its optical microscopy products, and a broadening out of the range into non-contact measurement systems have all contributed to building Vision Engineering’s reputation for improving customer quality and efficiency through innovation, system quality and ergonomic design.

From fault detection, rework, research and development to quality control, Vision Engineering’s products are unrivalled when it comes to ergonomics. Our unique patented products have saved manufacturing companies globally many man-hours, reduced materials wastage and ensured quality and conformance to desired specifications

Humble beginnings to international recognition

The company has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a Nissen hut in Surrey and in June 2018 opened an 84,000 ft2 state of the art manufacturing R&D facility and global headquarters in Send, near Woking, Surrey, UK.


2019 saw a further demonstration of Vision Engineering’s innovation capability with the launch of an entirely new digital 3D visualisation technology. Deep Reality Viewer (DRV) solves the conundrum of delivering high quality 3D HD images digitally without the need for glasses or other special eyewear, and uniquely, enables those images to be shared in real time across networks. This incredible technology has been internationally recognised with numerous awards, including the Mesure Palmares Technologiques in France, the productronica Innovation Award and the Inspect Innovation award in Germany.

In April 2020, Vision Engineering cemented further its deserved reputation for innovative engineering excellence by winning the coveted Queen’s Award again, this time for Innovation, for its high magnification eyepiece-less stereo microscope, Lynx EVO. Widely adopted around the world for critical manufacturing operations, by large Medtech, Medical Device, Telecomms, Aerospace, Automotive and other manufacturers and their extended subcontract supply chains Lynx EVO has quickly built a reputation as an essential tool for supporting quality inspection processes.

Vision Engineering now employs more than 220 people in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia, in addition to a fully-trained global distribution network. While it retains strong roots in British manufacturing, Vision Engineering has an international focus and supplies inspection and measurement products to the world’s most prestigious organisations.