S&H Metal Products Inc., a manufacturer of sheet metal products, announced plans today to expand its operations in Topeka, Ind. According to a press release the move could create up to 18 new jobs by 2015.

The company, which produces both galvanized and aluminum sheet metal for the RV industry, will purchase new computer numerical control equipment to fabricate new designs for the company’s custom line of sheet metal products and components.

“Northern Indiana’s prominence as an epicenter for the RV industry is further strengthened with S&H’s expansion plans,” said Dan Hasler, secretary of commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC). “Our low-tax business climate encourages sustainable growth for companies and promotes more jobs for Hoosiers.”

S&H, which currently employs 20 full-time associates in Topeka, Ind., has already begun hiring additional handling, operating and transportation associates.

“We expanded our operations in Topeka because LaGrange County has some of the best workers in the world,” said Fritz Helmuth, founder and president of S&H Metal Products. “Our location in the heart of the RV industry gives us a competitive edge for our business.”

Founded in 1972 by Helmuth, the company started operations as a manufacturer of light-galvanized fabrication parts for the RV and modular home industries. S&H specializes in the ‘just in time’ production strategy to provide RV manufacturers with parts on an as needed basis.

The IEDC offered S&H Metal Products up to $150,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The Topeka Town Council initially approved additional property tax abatement at the request of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. (LCED).

“We are grateful for the investment by S&H Metal into their facility in Topeka,” said Yvonne Eash, president of the Topeka Town Council. “They are a valued long-term employer in our community.”

S&H’s recent expansion joins the growing list of jobs announcements in northern Indiana’s manufacturing industry. Just last week, Supreme Industries Inc., a full-line manufacturer of customized truck bodies, announced plans to expand its operations in nearby Elkhart County, investing $7.71 million and creating up to 350 new jobs by 2015.