The Government is keen for exports growth as part of a re-balancing of the economy following the financial crisis.
But Scotland's engineers, like those in other sectors, have struggled to sell to foreign customers, with exports growing in just one of the past ten quarters.
This could change with 27% of firms expecting export orders to rise in the coming quarter, according to figures from Scottish Engineering, against 14% anticipating a fall. Some sectors, such as electronics and transport, are already experiencing an export boom.
Bryan Buchan, chief executive of Scottish Engineering, said: "The much vaunted efforts to support smaller businesses on the part of the Government and the banks appear to be yielding results. Smaller companies are reporting continued improved performances with a commensurate increase in optimism."
Small companies have seen orders rise as medium-sized firms have seen a fall.
Small and large companies enjoyed rising output volumes in the first quarter of 2014 while these fell at medium-sized firms.