Port Machinery and Precision Measurement

Port machinery equipment covers a wide range of machines designed to improve port work efficiency, including various quay cranes, portal cranes, wheeled cranes, mobile and continuous loaders, yard, stacking machinery and vehicles, and more. Different types of port machinery have different divisions of labor, but they all share the characteristics of being large parts with more complex mechanical structures, more non-standard shape parts, and larger bearing weights that can make construction at the precision needed for their large-scale work difficult.

With the continuous improvement required for production quality, production efficiency, and safety assurance, the precision of the design and manufacture of large-scale port machinery and equipment has been qualitatively improved in the last few decades. From manufacturing all the way through delivery and operation, it is necessary to carry out more precise and meticulous measurement and inspection of each component and structure of port machinery to achieve the best product quality, performance optimization, and safety level.

To help support these strict measurement standards, API has pioneered state-of-the-art portable, wireless dimensional metrology equipment for more than 30 years. Our Radian Laser Tracker series are the smallest, lightest, most accurate Laser Trackers available, complete with handheld and smart targets for part measurement; jigs, fixtures, and tooling; GD&T, reverse engineering, robot calibration, and more.

Taking wheeled cranes as an example: in order to maximize the lifting performance of this type of crane and ensure safe production, its key components need to be properly machined and aligned, and the connection between the vehicle chassis and the crane must be within tolerance. The precise manufacturing of the connecting structural parts of the heavy mechanism is particularly important. Only by complying with all design indicators can the performance and safety of the vehicle be optimized.

The measurement and testing requirements for the connecting structural parts of the wheeled crane mainly include the following points:

1. Verification of size and shape, digital-to-analog comparison of key parts, the error is required to be less than 0.2mm;

2. The detection of the coaxiality of the hinge point holes of the structural parts requires an error of less than 0.1mm;

3. The flatness detection of the support position of the structural parts requires the error to be less than 0.1mm.

API solutions

1. Verification and digital-analog comparison of the size and shape of the structural parts

When measuring, Radian Laser Tracker simply needs to be within 80m of the part to be measured, with the operator holding the SMR within line-of-sight on the part. Radian follows the position of the SMR on the part, using distance the beam was returned from and the movements of its encoders to keep connection with the SMR to record three-dimensional coordinates for all of the part’s main features. This digital-analog measurement data is imported into the measurement software, and the coordinates are compared with the data of the CAD model for each major feature. This comparison analyzes deviation values that determine whether the part is within tolerance or needs to be reworked or scrapped.

2. Detection of hinge point coaxiality

First, using Radian, collect coordinate data of each point to be measured at the hole position, then you can select the required points in the measurement software, and construct the circles of each hole position respectively. At this time, the spatial position relationship of each circle is automatically generated in the software, and the coaxiality data is clear at a glance.

It is worth mentioning that, for many of these points, the locations are difficult to capture with line-of-sight for the tracker. In order to avoid multiple tracker repositionings, the operator uses the vProbe tactile measuring sensor to probe the probe into the hidden position or deep hole of the workpiece, and easily realizes all-round measurement of the hinge point. vProbe offers targetless, full volume measurements from the smallest, lightest smart probe on the market.

3. Detection of the flatness of the support position of the structural parts

As shown in the steps above, Radian with vProbe or an SMR collects data from points on the plane to be measured and record the data in the software to construct a plane to compare the relative value of each specific point to the theoretical plane. This once again tells the operator what the deviation is to determine the flatness error.


In the field of port machinery manufacturing, the use of API Radian Laser Trackers and their various accessories can accurately and efficiently ensure the smooth implementation of measurement operations in each machine. These fast and accurate measurements can be taken wirelessly both on the shop floor and at the installation site to ensure accuracy while saving cost, time, and effort. To learn more about Radian Laser Trackers or request a quote, fill out the form below to contact us and speak to a Real Metrologist today.

Read More API News

Employee Profile: Niko Stenke

Employee Profile: Niko Stenke

Name: Niko Stenke Position: Application Engineer Years with the company: 2  1) What was your childhood like?  My interest in technology began at a very early age. Like many children, it started with Lego bricks. My childhood was well protected. With my older…

More API Metrology News Categories

Case Studies
Employee Profiles
API Metrology News
Product Highlight
Industry Focus

Featured Metrology Equipment

Whether you need to inspect a part or calibrate your Laser Tracker, API Metrology has the best products on the market and the most knowledgeable staff of expert metrologists.

The smallest, lightest, most accurate laser measurement tool.

CNC Machine Tool Calibration. Calibrate all 21 errors in one setup.

Featured API Metrology Videos

For more Metrology Videos, Subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Got Questions?

Our Expert team of Real Metrologists are Globally-Local, available for measurements both at your site and in our A2LA accredited calibration labs. They can assist with everything from equipment purchases and rentals to customer support to contract service work.