Mac Lear, designer first colour inspection system in Europe, passed away
Mac Lear Managing Director of Tecscan passed away recently after a very short illness. His lilting Welsh accent was a feature of many printing exhibitions and events throughout the world. He will be sadly missed. Although Mac is well known for his work in the inspection technological field there is much more to his earlier background.
After a short spell as an apprentice blacksmith in Nantgarw colliery, Wales, he, like so many of us had to serve his obligatory two year National Service, however he extended his national service with the RAF and spent time in North Africa and Malta during the first Suez crises, working on Canberra and Meteor aircraft.
His time in the RAF saw him indulge in his love of motorcycles and music, the first tearing across the desert in Libya and the second as a lead trumpet player for the RAF and ad-hoc dance bands. Not many people know this but while in North Africa he volunteered to be involved in the filming of ‘The Sea of Sand’ starring Richard Attenborough, and was Richard’s (or Dicky as he called him), stand-in for the film as well as playing a German soldier who eventually gets shot !
Returning home Mac worked as a technician in the Newport steel works. During this time he studied the newly emerging field of electronics and began to create circuits to aid the steelworks production by designing a heat differentiator circuit to keep steel production going, a device that was still being used years later.
His understanding and enthusiasm for electronics saw him start his first business as a TV and radio repairman, opening a repair shop in Trethomas, South Wales. He spent his spare time inventing fuel saving devices that he would be able fit to his own car.
Mac’s reputation as an inventive engineer spread and he began to build yet another career helping local factories to solve machine breakdowns of equipment he had never previously seen before. During one visit he discovered the need for a new vision inspection device to help maintain production quality in the printing industry.
This led to the technology for which he is so well known and the first prototype web inspection system was produced in monochrome and exhibited at DRUPA in 1982. However, printers wanted to see the image in colour so he set to and designed the first prototype colour web inspection system in 1984.
From this initial start in the printing industry he continued to develop camera imaging systems for UV, holograms, web stretch monitoring and Bar code verification system as well as low cost print registration monitoring.
Tecscan was officially set up in 1986 and many of its early employees and associates have gone on to form many of the camera inspection suppliers of today.
He will be remembered as the father of the modern inspection systems in use today. He leaves a great legacy behind which I am sure will be carried on by his son.