A vehicle cooling system manufacturer is investing millions of pounds in new premises and equipment to develop new products and open up fresh markets in Europe and the US.

Birmingham-based Grayson Thermal Systems produces cooling, heating and air conditioning products for the bus and coach market, specialist off-highway vehicles and diesel-powered engine industries worldwide.

The Tyseley company has now taken a 10-year lease on a new 42,440 sq ft building that will house the company’s head office and its enlarged aluminium manufacturing facility, which includes a new furnace to boost production by 400 per cent. The associated infrastructure and additional equipment is currently being specified and installed.

The latest phase in Grayson’s business growth programme has been made possible by a £249,000 Grant for Business Investment from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, which will help create 18 jobs and safeguard a further 20, and which has levered in close to £600,000 in private sector investment.

Graham Hateley, chairman of Grayson Thermal Systems, said: “We took the decision to expand late in 2007 and developed a strategy that would help us to achieve our goals.

“Obviously the economic climate has deteriorated since then but we are forging ahead with the vital support of Advantage West Midlands because we believe our plans will put us in a strong position to take advantage of future ­opportunities.

“Over the last two years we have done a lot of work developing export business in Europe, and have opened a business in North America which is making good headway.

“We are redoubling our focus on export markets during 2009 as the pound’s weakness against the dollar and the euro enhances our value-for-money proposition.”

Dr Richard Hutchins, deputy chief ­executive of Advantage West Midlands, said: “We are extremely pleased to support the expansion of Grayson’s business and to help them seize this opportunity for growth in spite of the recession.

“Grayson has identified the crucial need to invest now in order to be ready for the business opportunities presented by the economic upturn,” Dr Hutchins added.

“This is a great example of how Advantage West Midlands is supporting projects that can deliver the best returns on investment – in terms of business growth and job creation for the region – and reflects the priorities of the Manufacturing Support Strategy, including supporting the development of globally competitive businesses through modernisation in key operational areas and diversification.”

The project is located in the East Birmingham/North Solihull Regeneration Zone and the Coventry/Solihull/Warwick High Technology Corridor and supports the aims and objectives of the Transport Technologies Cluster.

The new manufacturing facility will go on to replace the company’s existing factory in Wharfdale Road, Tyseley, Birmingham.

Grayson will continue to manufacture its range of copper-brass products at its dedicated copper-brass unit in Tyseley, and it will also retain its service centre near Birmingham Airport.