With roughly 5.2 m employees, the manufacturing industry is one of the key industries of the German economy. Divided into the areas of mechanical engineering, electrical industry, chemistry and plastics processing, it presents a heterogeneous field that has to face similar challenges, but to different degrees. Especially small and medium-sized businesses with products of low complexity that can be manufactured also in so-called low-wage countries, even when taking into account the logistics costs, see themselves exposed to increasing international competition. This competition is even intensified because they lose bargaining power in the face of increasing consolidation at the buyer and supplier sides. Especially for businesses with high energy consumption, such as iron casting manufacturers, the requirements under renewable energy legislation present an additional risk factor. Although partial exemption from the renewable energies reallocation charge can reduce the cost pressure, the administrative barriers pose a considerable risk to small and medium-sized businesses in difficult times.