A device that automatically places and retrieves goods from racks, pallets, containers or bins. Thanks to a microprocessor designed to receive and process commands from a special WMS for warehouse management, the device operates by itself without the need for assistance or supervision. Stacker cranes are an extremely popular solution for warehouse work. They increase productivity.

The task of the depot is to pick up the product, transport it and put it down on the corresponding shelf of the rack in the designated location and vice versa. The two operations, which are performed alternately, are a combined cycle - putting down one pallet and picking up another within the same course.

Forklift trucks were no longer viable, were overloaded, bulky and needed a driver. The warehouse stacker crane operates completely by itself, it does not need an operator.

How the warehouse stacker crane works

How does the warehouse stacker crane work?

The stacker cranes are mounted on rails and also move on them. They have a special system that helps them handle the loads and manipulate the pallets on the racks. There are three types of operation, and choosing the right one depends on the needs of the facility.

  1. Automatic mode - the most common mode of operation of the stacker crane, it is used most often. In this mode, the storage and retrieval of goods takes place autonomously, the machine has no driver, as the movement is controlled by a PLC mechanism. Task information is transmitted thanks to a special warehouse control system.
  2. Semi-automatic mode - The PLC mechanism replaces the computer at one end of the aisle, from which the operator can send commands to the stacker crane. Each movement is assigned coordinates that must be entered into the computer.
  3. Manual mode - is used most often in cases of maintenance and repair operations. In this mode, the operator is essential, having to control the machine from the cab and using manual mechanisms to do so.

Advantages and disadvantages of storage layouts:

Advantages : 

  • Space optimisation - thanks to the considerable density of storage, both in terms of area and height, and the possibility of narrowing aisles.
  • High load accessibility - the depot has easy and direct access to all stored loads. Pallet receipts and releases take place within two types of cycle:
    • single (acceptance or release of products only)
    • combined (simultaneous receipt and dispensing of products)
  • why install a warehouse stacker crane Permanent inventory - in an automated facility operated by a depot, a warehouse management system is needed to exercise precise control over the pallets. Thanks to the permanent inventory, the location of all items is known at all times.
  • Total cargo safety - cargo handling takes place automatically, without operator intervention, making it much easier to avoid accidents and damage to goods.
  • Total availability and efficiency - the system can operate 24 hours a day, all days of the week, without interruption. This makes it the perfect solution for companies with a high workload and mass order picking nature


  • Initial investment - such warehouse automation requires a larger input at the very beginning than a normal, manually operated warehouse. Nonetheless, it provides a quick payback, with logistical costs decreasing over time.
  • Only one aisle - for maximum efficiency, one stacker crane should operate on each aisle, which significantly increases costs.
  • Dependency - the automated warehouse must be equipped with other systems, such as conveyors - it is from these that the stacker crane picks up the load and also deposits it onto them.

Why install a storage stacker crane?

If we want to automate all kinds of logistics facilities. These can be simple warehouses, but even new logistics centres. Automation is very useful if a company aims to increase the efficiency of its warehouses, improve service levels and strengthen the security of goods and operators.

Automation is recommended when a company has a wide variety of goods with a medium to high turnover, as well as to increase the number of receipts, releases or a combination thereof. They are also not afraid of low temperatures, and can operate continuously down to -30 degrees.