A Portal crane is a crane mechanism where the hook remains at the same level whilst luffing; moving the jib up and down, so as to move the hook inwards and outwards relative to the base.Usually the description is only applied to those with a luffing jib that have some additional mechanism applied to keep the hook level when luffing.Level-luffing is most important when careful movement of a load near ground level is required, such as in construction or shipbuilding. This partially explains the popularity of fixed horizontal jibs in these fields.Horse-head JibsThe usual mechanism for level-luffing in modern cranes is to add an additional "horse head" section to the top of the jib. By careful design of the geometry, this keeps level merely by the linked action of the pivots.Powered level-luffingAs cranes and their control systems became more sophisticated, it became possible to control the level of luffing directly, by winching the hoist cable in and out as needed. The first of these systems used mechanical clutches between luffing and hoist drums, giving simplicity and a "near level" result.Later systems have used modern electronic controls and quickly reversible motors with good slow-speed control to the hoist winch motors, so as to give a positioning accuracy of inches. Some early systems used controllable hydraulic gearboxes to achieve the same result, but these added complexity and cost and so were only popular where high accuracy was needed, such as for shipbuilding.