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LD LRS: laser measurement system for automated loading and unloading of ships
Waldkirch, April 2006 – At this year’s Hanover Industrial Trade Fair (HMI), SICK is presenting the LD LRS laser measurement system – a powerful automation solution for the loading and unloading of ships. Whether measurement of the stack heights of containers in ports, or the detection of bulk materials in a silo – the speed and precision of the LD LRS in both cases is highly impressive. The system’s measurement data are used to determine positions, detect obstacles or control conveyor and (un)loading systems.

The LD LRS laser measurement system scans a stack of containers or a cone of bulk material without contact. Thanks to powerful laser optics it achieves ranges of up to 250 m with high object reflectivity. The range is still a hefty 80 m even with low reflective values of about 10%. This is sufficient to detect, for example, dark containers or bulk materials reliably and accurately from a crane jib. During outdoor use the specially developed close-range blanking ensures that the front screen of the protective housing does not impair the function and accuracy of the measurement system within it.

Double DSP

In addition to a first digital signal processor (DSP) to control the measurement system, every LD LRS has a second DSP that carries out an application-specific conversion of the measurement values and can transmit them via Ethernet, Can, RS-232 or RS-422 interfaces.

For stacks of containers and bulk material profiles


One area of application is the automation of ship-to-shore (sts) cranes for loading and unloading container ships. Studies show that the more rapid raising and lowering movements of the trolleys on jib cranes, and the optimised transport paths of the containers, can bring about time savings of up to 15%. There is also greater handling safety, as the measurement system installed on the jib often has a better view of the container than the crane operator. A higher-ranking system determines the width, height and length of a stack of containers from the data of the pivoting or travelling LD LRS. The measurement system constructs a 3-D image from the profile data and then determines the target position to be approached for container uptake. At the same time, the measurement values contribute towards optimising the transport path of the trolley.

Bulk materials stored on open ground or in silos can also be very accurately detected with the LD LRS. The bulk material filling state is translated into a 3-D model, in effect making the piles or pools of material “visible” to the loading system’s controller. Removal can then always be carried out where the most material is present. Varying material constituents, particle sizes, levels of dampness, material compactness or light conditions do not lead to any spurious measurements.

Laser measurement technology is “in” at ports – numerous laser measurement systems from SICK are employed for a wide variety of port automation tasks worldwide.