Ranakastrasz wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:04 pm
I've never gotten far enough to consider it, but the main advantage of smelting at the mining outpost is the doubled density due to plates stacking to 100 instead of 50. This doesn't matter for belts, but it doubles train capacity, which is a big deal.
Well except as bobucles says, in most cases it's not a big deal: if you're before electric smelting then you'd need to deliver coal which makes outposts much more complex and requires more trains to visit anyway; if you've got electric smelting but aren't yet a really massive base then your train efficiency probably isn't that critical as the trains probably spend a bunch of time idle anyhow; and once you're a megabase using production modules and speed beacons for smelting you don't want to have to make a zillion tier 3 modules to put at every outpost because it's expensive
In any case, you already tear down the old mines after it depletes. What was the issue with having to tear down a forge too?
It's not about tearing it down at the end, it's about how much you have to build to begin with, and how much sits idle. As patches deplete, there's less demand for smelters at any given outpost. So.. either you go and repeatedly downsize your outposts as they deplete, or you just leave them there until the entire patch is depleted to save yourself effort, in which case they're just a waste of resources: you could have moved them elsewhere but instead you made new smelters for new outposts, costing yourself more resources. If you're not using modules yet then the resources you're wasting here are pretty minimal, but once you're up to tier 3 modules leaving those lying around doing nothing is very expensive.
Ultimately: a main factory needs a certain amount of plates per minute at any point, and so it also needs a certain number of smelters to supply those plates. If you do the smelting at the main factory, you only need to have that many smelters. Add more production, add more smelters. The only thing you need to do is have enough trains full of ore showing up to keep them running, and all your ore can go to any smelter (in theory at least; in practise you might not want to balance it that much, but you can get as close to this as you feel like). You have to build a good enough train network to run twice as much total train capacity, of course, but the cost to transport a given amount of materials via the train network is usually not linearly increasing as that's the primary advantage of trains over belts in the first place.
If you do the smelting at outposts, then unless you are going to constantly visit the outposts and change things, you're going to need either more smelters overall or more outposts to keep up with the same rate of plate production, because it's no longer the case that any ore can go to any smelter. You can solve this by overbuilding: having enough smelters at every outpost to consume all the ore that the miners can produce; or you can solve this by having more outposts with fewer smelters and just letting the ore back up while the patch is still rich, but either way you need to build more stuff overall.
With the really big bases I've built, the approach I've found works best for me is distributed smelting at the sites where the plates are consumed, rather than where the ore is produced: this avoids the logistical bottleneck of getting a large number of trains into a single giant smelting area, without requiring you to overbuild smelting capacity with the corresponding number of expensive modules: you can put the exact number of smelters at each site to produce the plates it needs, such that they're always running at exactly 100% capacity.