Manufacturer sets its sights on electric dreams after £8m sales and technology boost
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A designer and manufacturer of cooling and HVAC products to the transport sector has sealed a string of contract wins that has seen it take sales past pre-Covid levels.
Birmingham-based Grayson Thermal Systems, which was founded in 1978 by current chairman Graham Hateley, has bounced back from the pandemic after securing more than £8m of orders from customers including ABB, Solaris, Skoda and Wrightbus.
The company’s new Battery Thermal Management System (BTMS) has proved popular with its core bus and coach market, as well as recent expansion into off highway, commercial vehicle and rail sectors.
Group turnover has now risen to £32m and more than 40 jobs have already been created, with another 12 positions now available across engineering, operations and administration.
“Like many manufacturers, Covid-19 caused a fair bit of disruption to day-to-day activities and a temporary drop in sales, but what it did give us was the opportunity to accelerate new innovations, focus on product R&D and improve our manufacturing capabilities at our three sites in Birmingham,” explained Matt Hateley, European sales manager at Grayson Thermal Systems.
“Our customers were also keen to spend some of their downtime exploring new thermal management solutions for their vehicle range and this action is definitely paying off with 25% growth since pandemic restrictions eased in early 2021, with a £multi-million pipeline of opportunities to take advantage of in 2022 and beyond.”
He added: “With COP26 still fresh in the mind, zero emission mobility is on everyone’s minds and how we can ‘heat and cool’ electric vehicles in an energy efficient and cost-effective way are two questions we believe we already have the answers to. This includes driveline components, such as batteries, electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells and HVAC systems for passengers and drivers.
“We had products developed and installed on a number of vehicles being showcased at COP26, including the Hydroflex train launched by Porterbrook, the UK’s largest owner of rail rolling stock.”
Grayson Thermal Systems, which serves 280 customers in more than 32 countries across the globe, has recently launched its third generation Battery Thermal Management System.
This ‘plug and play’ technology helps to regulate the temperature of electric vehicle batteries, providing optimum temperature control that is critical to their function and operational life, not to mention reducing overall vehicle life costs.
Developed at the firm’s R&D facility, the modular deigned BTMS can be specified to deliver active cooling, passive cooling and heating, with all of the hardware, pump, condenser, fan and compressor packaged neatly into one compact unit.
Hateley added: “We initially developed BTMS technology in 2015, but our knowledge and learnings over the years have allowed us to create modular systems that meet our clients’ desire to accelerate the change to zero emission technology.
“Our R&D team has worked to optimise weight and performance with our fine-tuned GEN3 BTMS so that it would deliver the performance required for use in bus and coach, off-highway and commercial vehicles. We have also focused heavily on developing bespoke BTMS units for the rail sector.
“The latter is a new market for our business, but we have a strong order book and pipeline from train OEMs. As the electric and hydrogen revolution starts to gather pace in rail, our products will deliver efficient operation of the train throughout the life of the rolling stock.”