Oil train stations

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DraculBloodaxe
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Oil train stations

Post by DraculBloodaxe »

Dear factorio players,

I've recently started transporting my oil by train. As we all know this means getting it into barrels first, putting it in the train and then getting it out of the barrels while getting the empty barrels back so they can be filled again.

Now I was wondering if there was a good setup for taking the empty barrels out of the train. Ideally I'd want to only take as many empty barrels out of the train as I've put full barrels in the train.
Until now, I'v only succeeded doing that by filling up the entire route from the train to the assembler so that if extra barrels would come the chests/belts would be too full until a barrel is taken by the assembler. But this feels like too many barrels for such a job and thus way too iron expensive.
So are there methods to take only the empty barrels I need (the amount I've just put into the train) while keeping the amount of barrels at the station at a minimum?
I've already tried something with smart inserters and smart chests but I seem to do something wrong as the amount taken from the train is often less than the amount put in, which can cause problems when the amount of barrels get too low.

Any help with this issue is extremely welcome.

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DaveMcW
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Re: Oil train stations

Post by DaveMcW »

DraculBloodaxe wrote:Until now, I'v only succeeded doing that by filling up the entire route from the train to the assembler so that if extra barrels would come the chests/belts would be too full until a barrel is taken by the assembler. But this feels like too many barrels for such a job and thus way too iron expensive.
Use the x slider to limit chests and cargo wagons to a reasonable number. Or middle-click cargo wagon slots to filter them.

But I think it's much easier to transport oil by pipe.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by ssilk »

In a normal game I would say you're right Dave, but I had lately the "luck" to have a world, where the "next" oil was about 2000 tiles away. You need to place pumps every 200-300 tiles.
Not fun.
Train is much more fun. :)

@ DraculBloodaxe: (nice name)
There is one strategy, which works relyable and always:

Use a locomotice with one wagon. Use the middle-mouse click to reserve half of the train for full and half for empty barrels.
At the oil unload station fill in as many empty barrels as possible. Take care, that you limit your empty barrel production to something useful (50 barrels?)
At the oil load station (unload with green inserters (must have a roboport!)) only that many empty barrels, that you need to fill the barrels until you come again.
Of course at the same time, fill in the full barrels. And don't forget to unload the full barrels at the unload-station. ;) I forgot that lately and wondered a while, why I don't have any oil. :D

Two wagons: Same system, as with one, but because of the positions of the wagons you don't need to reserve the stacks.

More wagon: Even numbers makes sense, but with a mix of one and two wagons you can use also 3, 5 etc. But with my experience 2 and 4 wagons makes the most sense. 6 is nearly too big.

The roboport at the oil-loading station is not really needed, but it is by far the easiest way to limit the number of taken oil barrels. Vou can limit that also with circuit network or just with stack size limits.
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Re: Oil train stations

Post by DaveMcW »

ssilk wrote:In a normal game I would say you're right Dave, but I had lately the "luck" to have a world, where the "next" oil was about 2000 tiles away. You need to place pumps every 200-300 tiles.
If you pump less than 30 oil/s, you can stretch underground pipe over 4000 tiles.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by ssilk »

I needed much more in the end. I found over 30 oil fields in about that direction. :P ( did I mention, that I built some month ago an oil refinery, which needed two full pipes of water as input? <pose> About 80 refineries... <more poses> But that was another world. :) )

Btw. It's pure frustration to built such a long pipe, until this isn't implemented: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=6&t=2388

And trains are still much more fun. :)
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Re: Oil train stations

Post by _aD »

ssilk wrote:And trains are still much more fun. :)
This sums up the single most important factor in the "trains over pipelines" discussion. Choo choo.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by dee- »

Image

Oil Barrel Trains ftw. They should add proper explosions and fires, tho :D

Image
CHOO CHOO

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by DraculBloodaxe »

Thank you all for all you're responses so far.
I choose to work with trains because as many have said before they are just more fun. They also add mobility to your character (you can't ride pipes to their source or destination).

I was sort of hoping someone had a method where they dynamically took the empty barrels from the train depending on the barrels they have produced at the station (thus without calculating the average amount of barrels made between the time the train takes to leave until it arrives again)

while limiting the chests / cargo wagons and/or filtering is a valid strategy or using green inserters and limiting their activation, Both feel like I have to do some calculations that should somehow be programmable with either the circuit or logistic network. Maybe the thing I want to do is something that will only be possible in a later version of the game. I think I did read somewhere that they were going to add sensors for trains for use in those networks.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by dee- »

I suppose this idea was already given?

...full barrels --> blue inserter --> smart chest (red wire) --> blue inserter --> [ wagon with empty and full barrels ] --> green inserter (if oil barrel on red wire is > 0, filter on empty barrels) --> empty barrels...

This unloads empty barrels as long as there are still filled barrels available to load to the train.
Place many of these as a blueprint alongside the wagon and make sure to connect the red wire for every row without mixing them, otherwise the multiple green inserters see a single barrel and unload too many empty barrels.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by DraculBloodaxe »

dee- wrote:I suppose this idea was already given?

...full barrels --> A) blue inserter --> B) smart chest (red wire) --> C) blue inserter --> D) [ wagon with empty and full barrels ] --> E) green inserter (if oil barrel on red wire is > 0, filter on empty barrels) --> empty barrels...

This unloads empty barrels as long as there are still filled barrels available to load to the train.
Place many of these as a blueprint alongside the wagon and make sure to connect the red wire for every row without mixing them, otherwise the multiple green inserters see a single barrel and unload too many empty barrels.
(added letters to quote to make it easier to reference each part of this set up)

That was one of my first thoughts but after testing this it seems like there is a loss in amounts of barrels. In my tests there seemed to be a loss of about 20%. This means that if B contains 5 barrels then E would only unload 4. (I've tested with bigger numbers so perhaps I should try testing with these low amount to make sure this still holds true). This means that slowly but surely the amount of barrels at the station would be less the amount required. Perhaps there is something I'm missing?

I also noticed that if the train would be in the station at the moment A inserts into B and thus C immediately inserting into D then E would almost never be activated because the barrel isn't in B long enough.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by dee- »

DraculBloodaxe wrote:
dee- wrote:I suppose this idea was already given?

...full barrels --> A) blue inserter --> B) smart chest (red wire) --> C) blue inserter --> D) [ wagon with empty and full barrels ] --> E) green inserter (if oil barrel on red wire is > 0, filter on empty barrels) --> empty barrels...

This unloads empty barrels as long as there are still filled barrels available to load to the train.
Place many of these as a blueprint alongside the wagon and make sure to connect the red wire for every row without mixing them, otherwise the multiple green inserters see a single barrel and unload too many empty barrels.
(added letters to quote to make it easier to reference each part of this set up)

That was one of my first thoughts but after testing this it seems like there is a loss in amounts of barrels. In my tests there seemed to be a loss of about 20%. This means that if B contains 5 barrels then E would only unload 4. (I've tested with bigger numbers so perhaps I should try testing with these low amount to make sure this still holds true). This means that slowly but surely the amount of barrels at the station would be less the amount required. Perhaps there is something I'm missing?

I also noticed that if the train would be in the station at the moment A inserts into B and thus C immediately inserting into D then E would almost never be activated because the barrel isn't in B long enough.
Aaah, I see... that's what I get for laying out in my head without testing :)
Thanks for the explaination

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by GewaltSam »

Although I am sure that it is not the desired solution, I want to mention the RailTanker mod anyway :)

I never came around to build a setup for pumping oil into barrels, mainly because I didn't like that you can't create barrels with other fluids than oil in it. So the rail tanker which can load every fluid was the logical solution for me. This way, I can also ship other fluids to outposts without the need of a never-ending pipeline or a new refinery (and unwanted byproducts in some outpost far away).

This is just an informal comment. Maybe some of you would prefer such a solution, too, until the devs put some sort of rail tanker into the vanilla game (which is planned, as far as I know).

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by Psycho0124 »

I use Psycho's patented Barrel Counter System™ to move oil in from outposts. :P
It's a little tricky to explain it but it works really simply. Once the offloading station at the main base is built, expansions are easy to set up. The mining stations out in the world don't need any fancy wiring and can fill the wagons to capacity with whatever oil and other resources are available. The trains don't need any filter or limit settings, just send them off to the new outpost with a stack or two of empties the first time. Full barrels arrive at the main base, the system offloads them and loads the same number of empties for the trip back to keep the remote base perfectly stocked. The rest of the inserters pull the non-oil stuff in the car.


Image
Here's the layout for the oil car offloader. The full barrels have to be tossed onto the ground using that first inserter to circumvent the "Inserter Stack Size Bonus" upgrade. All red wires lead to that smart chest.
The other inserters for the car have filters so they only pull coal, wood, iron ore, copper ore, and stone.
I tried to simplify it but the count gets unreliable with fewer components.

Image
The outpost stations are pretty simple; a short conveyer for empty barrels, a smart inserter with an "empty barrel" filter to offload the empties, and an assembler to fill the barrels. This one has too many empties stocked up; it was producing a lot more oil when I first built it.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by Chronosfear »

I haven't seen the post until now.
Made a similar ( yet not that effecient proably but more pleasing to my eyes :mrgreen: ) [ Yeah, many "dead" barrels around ( empty or filled )]


I prefer to transport with barrels over oil for 2 reasons
1. Its possible :D
2. the distance to this particular outpost is enough to get the train to about 250 km/h ( to many pipes )

The Outpost produces the barrels needed ( limited to produce only when less then 10 in chest )
Oil Input
My Mainbase emptys the barrels in some tanks which are forced to be emptied by a small pump or else it wouldn't use much of it and consumes the "last" drops of the base reserves
Oil Output

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by RoddyVR »

separate cars for full/empty barrels seems like a waste of half the train size.
unloading barrels by one from the train seems like the trains have to be at stops for ever, pipeline will be faster.

So now that my next quest is a train system, I've been considering various loading unloading approaches, both for ores and oil, and here's what I'm thinking for oil:

Train car arrives full of empty barrels, and any empty barrel unloaded from it gives the loading side a spot to put a full barrel in.
Only thing left is to limit the inserters that are taking empty barrels out to stop before the full barrels are all loaded.
If there's 8 inserters loading and 8 unloading, at 5 items per inserter, that's a required buffer of 40 full barrels that have to stay at the station when the train pulls out.

Downsides i see that some people wont like:
All oil cars have to be dedicated to oil only and always ride around full of barrels. Basically I've converted the cars into tankers.
The number of oil barrels at a station never changes, connecting a couple more oil jacks to an oil outpost will not make it adjust its number of barrels.
So you have to load up your stations initially with however many barrels you want to be it's max load. I think a good count is a full train's worth of oil barrels at each station, though decidedly smaller oil stations can have smaller amounts if you want. You can manually add or remove barrels of course, and the station will stay at the new level.


There is a small chance that this sequence of events will happen: train arrives, all (except the buffer) barrels are loaded into it, one more full barrel arrives at station, giving the unloaders signal to remove empty barbell to make room for it, they remove empty barrels... but just at that moment before the loaders can put their barrels into the empty space in the train, the train goes and leaves the station (on timer). This station just grew its barrel load by about it's buffer size (all inserters reacted to remove empty barrels, They dont just take 1 barrel).
The only thing I can think of to prevent this situation is to make some sort of timing circuit, that starts when train arrives, then finishes in a couple seconds before the train departs (all trains to the station must be timed the same.
and this circuit gives a second condition to the empty barrel unloading smart inserters.

The circuit itself can be a single item that goes around a long belt loop with one inserter putting it on belt when train arrives, and another putting it back in when it finishes its trip. if the item is in the chest, then no loading happens. Second small loop attached to the first one can be the timer for waiting while the train is about to leave (the need for this depends on how to catch the arrival event).
still thinking of how to catch that event, either first barrel unloaded, or loading of fuel might be best bet actually, if you refuel trains at remote stations.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by Veylon »

There's a certain amount of time taken for the train to go on it's loop. In that time, the filling station will fill X barrels.

Here's the system I've been using:

Put a smart chest next to the train and wire it to a smart inserter so that it will fill the chest with those X barrels. This chest will be next to the building that does the filling. The train can swing by, pick up however many barrels are full and drop off enough empty ones to top off the chest count. It doesn't have to stay while the processing is going on. (A line of smart chest with a line of inserters can also be all wired together if you're in all that much of a hurry. I haven't been so far.)

Back at the main station, it drops off the full ones and takes ALL of the empty barrels in the system. Ideally, it should come back with a handful of empty ones so that you know the filling stations are all receiving as many as they need. If it comes back with ONLY full ones, it means the system is demanding more drums than exist.

The tradeoff for speed and convenience is the materlal cost in needing double barrels and running trains more often with less on them.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by DerivePi »

This is what I'm coming up with for the mainbase transfer station. There is a switch that flips when a locomotive arrives and starts the timer. The first loop of the timer empties the wagon of the returned empty barrels. After the first loop, the wagon is then loaded with an amount of empties about equal to the number of filled barrels plus a surplus of up to 40 more empties.
MAINBASE OIL STATION.gif
MAINBASE OIL STATION.gif (41.71 KiB) Viewed 14975 times
Still working on the oil outpost side. The gist is that any unused barrels are returned on the train minus a reserve of 10 or so. This system will auto balance to the production of the oil outpost. If you add more wells, more empties will ship. As wells dry up, less empties will be sent to that location. Stay tuned for the balance.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by DerivePi »

It turns out that there is pretty much always a need to detect and time the trains at stations. So here is a schematic showing how to do just that (and the forum where discussed is here - https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... 18&t=12330 ):
TRAIN TRIGGER AND TIMER.gif
TRAIN TRIGGER AND TIMER.gif (25.29 KiB) Viewed 14924 times
Now for the Import and Export controls (both of which interface with the timer):
OIL EX IM.gif
OIL EX IM.gif (34.14 KiB) Viewed 14924 times
Note - for the oil import station, there should be a chest under the "FILLED BARRELS" label. This system self regulates. If too many empty barrels are sent to an outpost, they will be returned. If too few, then more empty barrels will be sent.

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Re: Oil train stations

Post by ssilk »

. o O ( and with v0.12 all this complicated stuff won't be needed anymore... what a pity )
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Re: Oil train stations

Post by DerivePi »

ssilk wrote:. o O ( and with v0.12 all this complicated stuff won't be needed anymore... what a pity )
Figuring this out is the fun. Implementing it, not so much. Everyone should enjoy a good Rube Goldberg though.

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