Italian woodworking equipment orders grew by 3.4% during the third quarter, with manufacturers of highly automated and innovative machinery leading the way.

Acimall (the Italian woodworking machinery and tools manufacturers’ association) recorded a 4.7% rise in foreign orders, compared to a year ago, while the domestic market shrank by 0.5%.

It said makers of less hi-tech traditional machinery were having a tougher time, due to increasing levels of competition.

Ambrogio Delachi, Acimall president, said companies manufacturing the same machinery needed to co-operate with each other and define process optimisation strategies in order to succeed in market areas where price is still king.

Acimall’s survey shows 60% of interviewed companies indicate a stationary production trend, while 17% say business is growing and 23% report a decreasing trend. Some 23% of interviewees predict the export market will grow, with 7% expecting a decline.