A stacker / stacking crane is a tall vertical mast with a forklift type mechanism used in automated (computer controlled) warehouses (known as an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS)). The 'crane' moves on a track in an aisle of the warehouse. The fork can be raised or lowered to any of the levels of a storage rack and can be extended into the rack to store and retrieve product. The product can in some cases be as large as an automobile. Stacker cranes are often used in the large freezer warehouses of frozen food manufacturers. This automation avoids requiring forklift drivers to work in below freezing temperatures every day.
They are more of a Forklift than a crane in the way they operate, as they dont lift the load by a wire rope as almost all cranes do.