What Are Stacker Cranes? Types Of Stacker Cranes

Stacker cranes as the term suggests are cranes used to stack items at warehouses. These are one of the most popular types of cranes out there offered in different types by crane rentals to meet the needs and demands of varying warehouses. Let’s take a look at stacker cranes and why they remain the best choice for handling warehouse loads.

Types Of Stacker Cranes For Boxes And Pallets

Just as you have to buy a commercial steamer for your food facility, you will look into various types before buying one, similarly, you should take note of the different types of stacker cranes available based on the type of goods to be handled. For instance, stacker cranes that are designed to handle lighter unit loads like pallets and boxes are called miniload. However, there is a slight difference between the two.

Stacker cranes for pallets are relatively bigger and designed to carry heavier loads than stacker cranes for boxes as pallets tend to be heavier. Furthermore, stacker cranes are not only differentiated based on the goods they can handle but also the structure more specifically the number of masts.

The mast is simply the body of the crane, which includes the cradle and forks. Depending on the type of load, the crane speed, and other factors, a stacker crane might have a single or double mast. A stacker crane uses a bottom rail track installed on a concrete slab along with an upper guide rail fixed on the profiles.

These help stabilize the crane and deal with lateral forces as the crane places or removes the items. And, finally, stacker cranes can perform in temperatures as low as -30 degrees. However, the operator needs to be experienced.

Single-Mast Stacker Cranes

Single-mast stacker cranes are available for both boxes and pallets and are also designed for utmost functionality and efficiency in installations with lighter loads. When it comes to single-mast stacker cranes for pallets, there are some further types for you to select depending on the weight of the load.

The taller the stacker crane, the lighter the weight of the pallet. Therefore, the ideal pallet weight for these stacker cranes is between 1,000 and 1,500 kg. Therefore, depending on the task at hand, you will need to choose the type that will perfectly handle the unit load.

Twin-Mast Stacker Cranes

Twin-mast stacker cranes are identified by two vertical masts with a cradle in the middle that helps access all storage levels. In addition to that, twin-mast stacker cranes are comparatively more robust and agile than single-mast stacker cranes as they are designed to handle heavier loads.

Like single-mast stacker cranes that come in different varieties to handle different pallet loads, the same is the same with twin-mast stacker cranes. The pallet variety of twin-mast stacker cranes can lift up to 1,500 kg.

Twin-Mast Stacker Cranes With Pallet Shuttle

Twin-mast stacker cranes with a pallet shuttle are only made to handle palletized goods. Essentially, the crane is a twin-mast stacker crane with the addition of having a motorized shuttle responsible for extracting and depositing the pallets to and from the racks.

These cranes are used for deep storage channels. Plus, the main purpose of such cranes is to maximize storage as warehouses are limited when it comes to storage.

Trilateral Stacker Cranes

Trilateral stacker cranes as opposed to its other types can deposit pallets to and from the racks in three different positions. When compared to single and twin-mast stacker cranes, they can also operate in two different positions.

That said, trilateral stacker cranes are the perfect option for warehouses that already utilize manual trilateral turret trucks and want to automate processes without interrupting their processes. On top of that, trilateral stacker cranes are very easy to install, and work on rails but do not require an upper guide rail.

This allows easy installation in warehouses that already have a racking set up without making significant changes to the overall structure. Some crane services DC who rent or sell these cranes also help in the installation. So, get their help too.

Types Of Extraction Systems

Extraction systems are important when it comes to removing or placing loads to and from the storage racks. Some storage racks can be deeper than others, which requires the operator to choose a stacker crane with the best extraction system. Considering the dimensions of the storage space, stacker cranes come with different extraction configurations.

Keep in mind that the cradles of the cranes can also be customized to handle several loads at the same time. An important factor that needs to be considered is that extraction systems directly affect the performance of the stacker cranes.

The decision to choose the most suitable extraction system depends on the agility required and the storage capacity of each warehouse. If the loads do not need to be stored deep, the crane has more space for flexible movements. However, if the loads need to be stored in depth, the crane is restricted in terms of movements which lowers the performance.

Moreover, extraction systems for pallets and boxes also differ. For pallets, the system consists of two telescopic forks that are joined together by two arms driven by a shaft. In the case of boxes, the telescopic forks consist of two sliding structures.

Plus, opting for a motorized belt fork is another popular option for pulling boxes.

Single Deep System

The single-deep system is a mechanism that allows cranes to extract loads from single deep racks. This type of extraction system tends to be the most productive as handling a single unit load demands handling over storage capacity. On top of that, this system is also the most recommended when it comes to dealing with extremely heavy loads.

Double Deep System

A double deep extraction system is particularly designed to handle double-deep racks. Since stacker cranes dealing with such situations have telescopic forks, it helps the machine balance both storage capacity and agility.

Triple Or Quadruple Deep

A triple or quadruple deep extraction system is used when the racks are three or four unit-loads deep. As a result, this extraction system is only used for warehouses that value capacity over agility. This is because warehouses having deep storage racks intend to store as many loads as possible.

What Type Of Stacker Crane Should I Choose?

Opting for the right stacker crane for your warehouse is not an easy task. Considering there are several different varieties, you can also modify the cranes to meet your specific needs, the overall process can easily become overwhelming.

As a general rule of thumb, you should be aware of the needs and demands of your warehouse along with the budget and other important factors. Once that is done, you will need to pick the option that offers you the most functional and cost-effective features.

If that does not help, consult an expert who will guide you through the process.


Stacker cranes are effective load-handling solutions for warehouses. However, not every stacker crane is designed to handle all types of loads. So, you need to be aware of the types, features, and extraction systems to pick the right option. If you need for a short term, crane for rent VA services can help. And if possible, ask the experts to help you pick the most suitable option keeping in view your future needs.

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