Modular Extensible PnP Factory

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Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »


***************************
Please Notice


For the current version of the bus and rack design please see this post.

This introductionary post here uses a different, older bus design, but the overall idea for the Modular Extensible PnP Factory System stays the same, so just read on :)

***************************




Foreword

Hi there :)

I've been playing Factorio now for quite some time and I have unlocked every tech, fiddled around a bit and am now in a phase that I would call maybe "mid-early to mid" factory design stage.
Assuming this is a very subjective opinion I would describe it for myself as "not placing everything all over the place anymore" and having reached a stage in which trains become interesting and valuable.

I am not yet in the need for dual/quadruple blue belts, usually dual red (~= single blue, quadruple yellow) or even single red (~= half blue, dual yellow) belts are sufficient for my demand of produced items.

Because Factorio is constantly triggering my desire to aim for efficient but still extensible, modular designs I have come to the development of, what I would call, "modular factory design consisting of exchangeable facility appliances attached by a standard interface to a common bus system". :geek:

The designs created from this philosophy have already experienced some iterations and are now in a state that I call "preliminary publishable" :D


Design philosophy

As already stated above the aim for that extensible factory is to be modular. Therefore the factory consists of several different modules that each have a very specific function.

To get all the different facilites work with each other there is a kind of protocol or interface necessary (or just a huge logistics network, but where is the fun in that? ;) )

Without further ado here's a small example of what I'm talking about here:

Image

This is one of those factory modules (with not much going on :) )


One of those "rows" is called rack.
A rack is, by design rule, always 13 tiles high.

Image

One rack usually has only one type of facility in it, with matching belts and pipes to split off used items and fluids.

As the belts and pipes have a standardized filling and rack height is standardized it is possible to swap out a whole production row by deconstructing it and replacing it with something else in case of limited space or ceased demand (e.g. engines, etc.):

Such a production row consists of three compartments (from right to left):

Image

1. Pipes

The pipes are used to get fluids, produced by some module, to other modules. Think about a bus system for fluids.

There are always seven pipes in parallel, placed without a gap. They are always used for these fluids (left to right):
Water, Oil, Petrolium Gas, Light Oil, Heavy Oil, Sulfuric Acid, Lubricant.
That seemes like a good ordering to me and coincidentally is also the same here, nice as a reminder.

1b. "Fluid Connector"

Some free space between the pipes and the belts. This space is used for routing the fluids from the supply pipes on the left to the facility.
Is also used for I/O-belt-routing or further addiitons like additional power poles, roboports for blueprint placing, etc.
It's width is always 5 tiles.

2. Belts

Next to the pipes are the belts. They transport a continous stream of items from the bottom to up.

They are red belts, placed without a gap. The items in these belts are always (left to right):
Advanced (red) Circuits, Electronic (green) Circuits, Copper, Iron, Steel

Remarks:

Pipes and belts always have the same position and both are only needed once per rack.
Thus they can be considered as one building block and are therefore stored as a single blueprint to interface the facility to the bus system. This combined block is called a "connector"

Sometimes pipes or belts are not used for any racks above or below a rack.
In this case it is legitimate to remove or disconnect the unneeded pipes/belts to conserve resources stored on belts or in pipes.
So you can have rows having only rows or only pipes (or neither).
However the overall layout must be retained in case belts or pipes have to be rebuild when demand arises.

2b. "Solid Connector"

Connects the items on the support belts with the facility by splitting off required resouces and routing the side(un)loading belts of the more specialized ingrediends and finished products.
The width is dynamic as the only following to the left compartment is the facility itself and routing of all the belts and pipes isn't always the same.

3. Facility

This is the production logic where something is made from the provided resources, be it fluids or items.

The clou here is, this facility is (and by design rule MUST be) able to be repeated as often as desired to the left.
So you can have multiples of the same production facility, connected by one belt and one pipe compartment:

Image

(This example is a little "special" as the green circuit production facilities can overlap to conserve some space 8-) but you get the idea. This way they output so many green circuits you literally drown in them):

Image

Designing such a production facility must have extensibility in mind from the beginning, so needed resources are passed along the row to potentially more production facilites, same goes with created items or fluids, they have to be fed out of the rack in such a way additional facilites contribute to the same output line.

If the facility needs or produces items which are not transported on the bus belts, these resources are "side fed" in and out.
Side fed items also have to obey the rule to facility extensibility, means multiple facilites along the line must get those items, also, and not only the first:

Image

Here you can also see how fluids are split off the pipe bus and fed into the facility.
By now you should be able to see each compartment at a glance :)


Rules overview

So these are the design rules:

Format:
- a rack MUST always be 13 fields high. It is never shorter and never longer.
- a standardized belt and pipe system exists. Its connectors to the north and to the south MUST be preserved

Consistency:
- belts or pipes MUST NOT swap positions. Their position MUST be respected (see above screenshots for dimensions)
- the topmost tile row MUST NOT contain any pipes that could be able to connect to the north, which would then be the lowest tile row of the rack above this one. This is IMPORTANT! Not respecting this rule can result in unexpected fluid mixing, poisioning the whole fluid system! (it's a pain to get those pipes clean again)
- belts and pipes MAY be omitted if all racks above or below don't need either. When omitting it MUST be possible to rebuild the belts and pipes from the original blueprint (read: don't put stuff there that would interfere when pasting the blueprint over the stipped down connector again)

Ideology:
- facilities should product items as fast as possible. Yes, everything can be done with yellow inserters but using the right inserter and the right amount can speed up production. Where this leads to can be seen below at the capsule facility :twisted:


Blueprint shelf

Another charme of this modular rack-design is that every rack can be stored as blueprints, ready to be copy-and-pasted to whereever you need it to be, with all intermediate product facilities in reach as they are also just racks.

So it is possible for everyone to design such a rack for themselves and trade their designs and "recipes" as long as they obey the above rules to ensure interchangeability.


For me obeying these rules and building facility after facilitry is a nice exercise and sometimes requires clever solutions without me feeling the rules being too restrictive.
I enjoy my plug and play factory ^^ :mrgreen:


Still to write
- mass storage of iron and copper plates
- main bus system for iron and copper plates and how to attach these to the rack-system 5-belt bus system
- mass storage of oil barrels any why it's a good idea to bottle up oil to side-feed the oil barrels in to fill the oil pipe (and not store oil in a tank)
- why ores are processed right where they are extracted and only plates get transported to the unified extensible storage
- unified extensible train stations for loading/unloading/both-in-one
- blueprints
Last edited by dee- on Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:24 am, edited 25 times in total.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by MrSlehofer »

some of the pics doesn't work :cry:

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

Blueprints

Here are some of my blueprints :o ;)
This catalog is not complete by far.

Fluid storage

This storage helps buffering or bunkering four of the seven fluids. Why only four? Well, because there is not enough space for the others ;) and because the others don't need buffering:
- Water comes endlessy.
- Oil is fed into the system by emptying barrels. If the pipes are not full, more barrels are emptied. If the pipes are full, the barrels are not emptied anymore. So, it's guaranteed the oil pipe is always full to the brim. The oil is stored in barrels, which are, from a logistics viewpoint, more flexible and better handle- and storeable than fluids.
- Lubricant is not further processed and is some kind of end product for fluids, so once the pipe is full, lubricant production stops. When lubs are needed, it turns on again: no need for buffering

The four small pipes are intentionally there. This way it's easy to disconnect some tanks or place pumps between the tanks to fully fill/empty them.

Image


Heavy oil cracking

Takes heavy oil from the pipes, cracks it into light oil and feeds it back into the light fuel pipe.

Looks wild but can be placed side by side just fine, the underground pipes do their magic here.

Image


Light oil cracking

Cracks light oil to petroleum, quite the same as heavy oil cracking. Pipes of course connect differently.

Image



Refinery

Takes oil and water from the pipe system and provides light and heavy oil and petroleum to the pipe system.
Easy to the eye ;)

Image


Oil unbarreling

This is where the oil flow begins.
Takes side-load oil barrels (lower belt), opens them and pours the oil into the pipe system, ejects empty barrels for storage and later reuse.
Position of the input side-fed can be moved to the upper half if necessary.

Image


Plastics

Needed for red circuits. Takes coal and petroleum and produces plastic garbage. The splitter can be repositioned to feed those plastics to the north.

Image


Ammo and poles

They nicely go hand in hand and are easy to manufacture. The blueprints can interleave.

Image


Splitters

Splits the belts to the side to create a branch. Can have its uses. There's a version with pipe-branching and without.

Image


Green Circuits

Produces green circuits and feeds them into the belt system. Many of them.
Speciality of this blueprint is they are placed overlapping, conserving some space and filling the vertical belt from both sides.
Uses blue belts because it slups up base resources like crazy.

Image


Red Circuit

Produces red circuits and feeds them into the belt system. Needs green circuits so make sure they are already on the belt and plastics which are side-fed.
The producing facility comes in two parts: the first part creates wires and the second part consumes these. As long as there are enough wires on the belt it's sufficient to just repeat the circuit factories. The longer this gets the less wires are on the belt so after some time the first part has to be placed again to get a fresh stream of glimmering wire.
Splits off from the fast blue belt of the green circuits becuase it needs many of them.

Image


Steel

Just takes iron and smelts it into steel.
The reason for the steel belt is that while it is possible to create steel on the fly where needed (actually, the previous version had not 5 but only 4 belts without steel. It was much nicher to make underground belts with these as they went under the full bus) but to keep up the speed of the requesting factory usually three furnances were needed and every furnance would store up to 100 steel when not empties by an inserter so that's alerady 300 steel hiding in some furnances all over the place. And there are quite many reciped using steel.

So I added the fifth lane for steel and have it produced in one place:

Image


Main bus connector

This takes iron and copper from the main resource bus and feeds it into the 5-belt rack bus.
(the two-red-belts-with-three-tiles-between-them was an early concept for this design system. It has more thoughput but the footprint is immense and impractical. So it was replaced by the smaller belts with the dualbelts from the earlier design still in use for the basic materials like iron and copper plates. The storage system also still works with the old dual-belt system because it has a higher thoughput, which makes sense for loading/unloading from storage)

Image
Last edited by dee- on Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:51 pm, edited 24 times in total.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

MrSlehofer wrote:some of the pics doesn't work :cry:
Oh... I changed the image hoster. Do they show up now?

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by Koub »

They do :)

Amazing design imho :).
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by mike_smit »

You are awesome, sir. Keep the pics coming!

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by ssilk »

What you can also do is to save your blueprints, by using these mods:
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =14&t=6742 Blueprint string
https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =14&t=6516 Foreman - Blueprint Manager

PS: Reminds me to this very old thread: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... =factories

PPS: This is the first step for a mod, which implements an AI player. Next step would be to make a module out of it, that knows, which parts can be placed to what other parts.
Cool suggestion: Eatable MOUSE-pointers.
Have you used the Advanced Search today?
Need help, question? FAQ - Wiki - Forum help
I still like small signatures...

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

I have seen those blueprint importers/exporters and really would like to add bp-strings for convenience.
However last thing I know is there are some blueprint issues, like rotation of train tracks is not respected, underground belts don't connect, etc. This and the unknown state of those mods regarding MP and bugs made me not add bp-strings.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by MeduSalem »

Oh well I'm using something similar on some of my maps... But with some differences:
  • My racks have a standardized height of 21 instead of 13. This is because I'm strictly building stuff aligned with the roboport grid. This way I can fit 2 racks in between two roboports placed at maximum distance from each other and still have a repeating gap of 4 tiles between each rack, which not only does look much more cleaned up due to grouping but also is used to place Big Electric Poles as well as more Roboports if the amount of robots affords a tighter placement of roboports to reduce recharge times.
  • I use double express-belts for Iron/Copper Plates. Another reason why the rack height of 21 pays off because otherwise it would get pretty ugly to fit all the junctions, especially at racks with many belt and pipe requirements. This is why my main-bus looks like this:

    Belt | Belt | Pipe | Pipe | Belt | Belt | Pipe | Pipe | Belt | Belt | ...

    That way I have some space to fit the Splitters more nicely thanks to the 2 tile gap that is used by Pipes.
  • The main bus only uses Underground Belts/Pipes, that way the junctions are much more easier to be constructed.
  • I'm using a different order for the items on the bus, with the current setup being:

    Iron Plates | Iron Plates | Water | Crude Oil | Copper Plates | Copper Plates | Heavy Oil | Light Oil | Stone | Coal | Petroleum Gas | Empty Pipe | Steel Bar | Iron Gear Wheels | Lubricant | Sulfuric Acid | Electronic Circuits | Advanced Circuits

    I strongly refuse to place stuff on belts that I don't need in any reasonable quantities and/or in many places, but at least I want to have all the basic resources on the bus.
  • The belt for the output product(s) of each rack are standardized in the center of the 21 rack-height:

    10 Tiles | Output Belt | 10 Tiles

    This allows me for different approaches in getting the resources to the assemblers as well as to fill the outgoing belt from both sides equally.
  • I don't use side-fed belts. At all. It kills the modularity and just shoves the belt mess somewhere else.

    This has led me to group similar products/items and their prerequisites into one rack where the intermediate products never leave the rack.

    Like for example a rack dedicated to produce all Belts/Underground/Splitters.
    Or a rack that does make Engine Units/Electric Engine Units/Robot Frames/Logistic&Construction Robots.
    Or one that assembles all kinds of inserters.

    This also allows me to have racks on both sides of the main bus, thereby saving on bus-length.
  • Low quantity items and endproducts are put directly in active Provider chests which are fed with Smart Inserters controlling the amount of items in a centralized storage area.

    That way I don't have to deal with the mess of getting tons of items out of the way when I decide to tear down a rack. Storing items in the racks is just... NAH. Never going to happen. :roll:

Here's one of the earliest concepts from my approach since I don't have any pictures of my most recent ones:
007.jpg
007.jpg (791.01 KiB) Viewed 70035 times
In newer versions I obviously changed the spacing of the bus... I'd never waste as much space for the main-bus anymore. I'd never put a gap between the belts and the pipes anymore. It was just a proof of concept back then. ^^

Also I'd never do the circuit assembling that way anymore... I'm strictly using the 3:2 ratio for eletronic circuits nowadays. xD

But the 21 tile rack-height is something that I continue to use because of its benefits.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

For anyone interested I fixed the broken images.


Some impressions of the base (solid procession north of main bus, fluid processing south of it):
pics
And as a bonus a small look at my unloading train stations (which are of course completely modular with different configurations, too :D)
Image

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by vanatteveldt »

Nice idea, very cool to really modularize the design like this.

I understand the thinking on the steel, it is a pain that each furnace stocks 100 plates, and you often need like 9 furnaces (1 steel / sec) to run something on full production, so that would be an enormous amount of steel furnaces taking up space and iron plates.

What is the thinking on including red circuits, but excluding e.g. plastic? The fact that they take so long so you will need a lot of them on each rack that can potentially consume 1/sec?

Same question for the lube. If you have heav?y oil in your pipes, why not just produce it as needed?

Finally, did you consider dropping crude? The crude is not used except in the refinery, so you might as well combine the barrel unloading with a refinery?

How do you control cracking? They only sensible way I know is to use fluid logic to activate cracking when needed, but that requires hooking up your cracking to the storage (?). Without any control, I'm not sure how you can ever guarantee that heavy/light/petro are all full?

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

vanatteveldt wrote:Nice idea, very cool to really modularize the design like this.

I understand the thinking on the steel, it is a pain that each furnace stocks 100 plates, and you often need like 9 furnaces (1 steel / sec) to run something on full production, so that would be an enormous amount of steel furnaces taking up space and iron plates.
Yeah, the steel furnaces do stock quite an amount of steel bars. I don't think it's bad enough to try to circumvent this, e.g. by decreasing the number of furnaces and using buffer chests to get the speed back (at least until the chests run empty). As steel is used quite often I can use it for "manual" crafting in case I raze the furnaces and the stored steel bars come out.
vanatteveldt wrote:What is the thinking on including red circuits, but excluding e.g. plastic? The fact that they take so long so you will need a lot of them on each rack that can potentially consume 1/sec?
Red Circuits are used in quite a lot of recipes and they use a long time to make so they get on the belt.
Plastics are currently used in only two (?) recipes: Red Circuits and Lightweight Structure. At least AFAICR.
Also Plastic can be produced very very quickly and in huge amounts because the needed production area is quite small.
(In the redesign (see below) I have an unused belt, maybe I'll put Plastics on it, but that is currently undecided, let's see how my Plastic usage evolves)
vanatteveldt wrote:Same question for the lube. If you have heav?y oil in your pipes, why not just produce it as needed?
It's used in more than a few recipes (motors, blue belts and stuff) so it would bet on the bus.
Additionally I currently separate fluid from item production so e.g. the item production goes to the north and the fluid production, which does not need items from the belt bus, goes south. Still you can mix and match. Aaand feel free to create your own racks, I'm interested in more specialized and/or optimized (speed/compactness) layouts :)
vanatteveldt wrote:Finally, did you consider dropping crude? The crude is not used except in the refinery, so you might as well combine the barrel unloading with a refinery?
Unloading barrels is very very quick. I usually have only one unbarreling facility but maybe tens of refineries. Thus you'll become inefficient and it'd be more difficult scale barrels<->refineries.
I usually have a rack that converts water+oil into solid fuel (with all the intermediate steps in the facility) to be used as ingredient for rocket fuel, because it needs much solid fuel. So it's convenient for me to tap oil whereever I need it.
vanatteveldt wrote:How do you control cracking? They only sensible way I know is to use fluid logic to activate cracking when needed, but that requires hooking up your cracking to the storage (?). Without any control, I'm not sure how you can ever guarantee that heavy/light/petro are all full?
Currently it is not controlled, other than manually disconnecting pipes to the cracking racks.
It would be easily possible to add a small control valve layer into the cracking racks, between the bus and the facility, and control it by hooking it up with the fluid storage rack.
The amazing thing here is you'd only need that small additional pice inside the rack to control all the cracking done.





On a sidenote - I am currently redesigning the bus layout to a mixed belt/pipe layout like MeduSalem has shown. It's a little bit messier to the eye but I wanted more belts for the plate throughput and for future extensibility.

I however keep the rack-height of 13 to be able to reuse my previous blueprints and because it is less space consuming than higher rack sizes. Now I also carry power though electric poles along the bus so it's easier to bridge power between racks.


New Layout is as follows (blue = blue belts):

Iron Plate | Iron Plate | Water | Crude Oil | Copper Plate | Copper Plate | Petroleum | Light Oil | Electronic Circuits | Electronic Circuits | Heavy Oil | Sulfuric Acid | Advanced Circuits | (empty belt, maybe later Processing Units) | Lubricant | (empty pipe) | Steel | (empty belt)
Last edited by dee- on Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by RoddyVR »

Do you ever find that 13 tiles high is too short? its enough for two rows of assemblers feeding a central belt only if each needs just 1 input belt. what do you do when you need 3 or 4 inputs plus the output? red circuits for example, you cant build on both sides of the output belt casue it doesnt fit the 13 tiles rule (iirc 15 would be enough already, though i like the 21 idea for roboports)
Also the larger scale pictures show that you have sort of a side bus of other items (blue circuits i think) to the right of the pipes, why not just add another line or two to the bus?
I tend to agree with vanatteveldt that some of the liquid bussing is unneccessary.. oil cause it wont get used by anthing but refineries, and i like his idea of making lube in the racks.

I agree that a steel line is needed on a bus. but the "too much storage of steel in furnaces"reason can be easily overcome. the reason to make a steel line is that otherwise you need 5 iron lines to carry the same amount of matterials.
Making it so that there's no steal stored in the furnaces is easy.
in the racks, put a smart inserter on the input to the furnaces and only feed them iron when theres' a need for steel in the rack. If your steel production is close to balanced with the other production in the rack, your reserves in the smelters will be very small.
in central steel smelting give the same start inserters a condition tied to buffer chests between the smelters and the bus.

have you built and ran a factory with your design? i would hazzard a guess that if you turn on your module production, your iron line will run dry very quickly. (assuming that your module rack has atleast one of each module 3 assembler running full speed). have you ever felt you need another iron line?

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

RoddyVR wrote:Do you ever find that 13 tiles high is too short?
No, never.

The height of 13 is very compact, still convenient and gives me a small challenge to squeeze everything inside :)
RoddyVR wrote:its enough for two rows of assemblers feeding a central belt only if each needs just 1 input belt. what do you do when you need 3 or 4 inputs plus the output?
Then I get creative :) No, really, it always was enough without becoming ugly.
RoddyVR wrote:red circuits for example, you cant build on both sides of the output belt casue it doesnt fit the 13 tiles rule (iirc 15 would be enough already, though i like the 21 idea for roboports)
True, the layout I use for red circuits (it's rather old) puts the circuits only on one side of the belt.
That's not really an issue; you could add a lane balancer inside the design or be a bit lazy like me :)
Look at the connector part: In the place where the circuits are loaded on the bus you'll notice a splitter. This splitter has a red belt on it's left output, which then fills the bus with red circuits on both lanes.
If you need even more red circuits per second than a single-lane can transport, just plop another rack above/below it, so they fill the bus in parallel (= 2x single lane = full belt)
RoddyVR wrote:Also the larger scale pictures show that you have sort of a side bus of other items (blue circuits i think) to the right of the pipes, why not just add another line or two to the bus?
I am currently redesigning the bus (see bottom of post above) with 2x blue instead of 1x red for Iron, Copper and Electric Circuits. It also adds two currently unused belts for later usage (thinking about one belt for Processing Units, as these get used in quantities by quite some late-tech stuff)
RoddyVR wrote:I tend to agree with vanatteveldt that some of the liquid bussing is unneccessary.. oil cause it wont get used by anthing but refineries, and i like his idea of making lube in the racks.
I'm glad oil is on a pipe as I use it in more than one instance: refine it into the other oils and directly produce Solid Fuel for Rocket Fuel.
RoddyVR wrote:I agree that a steel line is needed on a bus. but the "too much storage of steel in furnaces"reason can be easily overcome. the reason to make a steel line is that otherwise you need 5 iron lines to carry the same amount of matterials.
Making it so that there's no steal stored in the furnaces is easy.
in the racks, put a smart inserter on the input to the furnaces and only feed them iron when theres' a need for steel in the rack. If your steel production is close to balanced with the other production in the rack, your reserves in the smelters will be very small.
in central steel smelting give the same start inserters a condition tied to buffer chests between the smelters and the bus.
Nice idea about conditionally filling the furnaces :)
RoddyVR wrote:have you built and ran a factory with your design? i would hazzard a guess that if you turn on your module production, your iron line will run dry very quickly. (assuming that your module rack has atleast one of each module 3 assembler running full speed). have you ever felt you need another iron line?
Later on the single red belt was not enough. In the base shots you can see how I upgraded the belts to blue for green/red circuits and even parallelized their production. That was a bit messy so I redesign the bus, adding some supply racks to re-stock the Iron and Copper belts from the storage, etc. So far I'm quite confident it'll work much better because of the broader bus and the additional side-suppliers that refill the Iron/Copper belts after the circuits racks razed them.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by vanatteveldt »

Let me share some of my screenshots. I'm still quite early game (only just got roboports), but it might be nice for discussion.

I like the 13 width rule, as it is very compact and gives nice design challenges while allowing for simply modules to not take too much room.

I allow mixing production modules in one rack, provided that they are still modular and output to the logistic system. E.g. I have a rack with a single central iron+circuit belt which makes belts, repair packs, lights and pipes. At the moment it is not quite modular, as you can't "copy/paste" the new yellow belt module without also copying the repair pack, so I need to change that:

Image

My current bus has 5 belts (iron / coal / copper / steel / circuits), interleaved with 4 pipes (water, petro, light, heavy). I think interleaving belts and pipes makes it easier to branch off belts as you have a mostly empty row/column to work with. For example, here is my capsule and ammunition factory:

Image

I make lube and sulphur gas as needed, e.g. in my robot frame factory:

Image

As you can see, I need to rework most designs to make sure they are "infinitely repeatable", e.g. the copper/iron belt in the frame factory is problematic, maybe I can add it to the left and branch off as needed. Petrochemical processing does not go in the normal rack system, rather the bus starts/ends at the refining, cracking, and storage facility which can be extended north/south as needed. The pumps to/from the cracking plants is to make sure there is a supply of each material available:

Image

At the other end of the bus is my main station, which feeds into the steel and circuit racks to complete the bus. Coal is still available locally as I put the power plant in my (first) coal outpost. Outposts are also responsible for smelting, so the iron/copper arrives as plates. I also played with circuits the first time, the lights next to the storage area show the supply of copper, iron, coal and crude at their station buffer chests / storage tanks (so copper is low (around 20k), the rest is OK but not full. Especially the coal one is important as I fell into the coal death trap earlier (no coal - no energy - no mines - no coal, and five minutes later no laser turrets - no base). I play without solar since I want to see how bad the natural evolution can get :)

Image

What should go on the bus?

I think the argument about lube, that it is needed in multiple recipes, doesn't make a lot of sense. Otherwise, you might as well add gears to the bus as well. I think the argument should be "it is needed a lot, and takes a lot of space to produce locally, and is cheap enough to waste a couple thousand units on a long belt". This holds for steel and green modules, but imho not for red/blue modules or plastics, batteries etc. Note btw that I use the science cost tweaker, which also needs plastics, batteries, and heavy/light oil for intermediate recipes for blue science. I'm also tempted to throw coal off the bus now that I have roboports, since the few recipes that need it generally don't need a lot of it

I'm still struggling with some issues:

* Roboports: Adding roboports in the rack is tricky, since it breaks the modularity assuming you want the whole rack to be covered. You can also add a "roboport strip" at the start of the rack, and mandate that all logistic chests are outside the rack proper, but that makes it more complicated and you do want builder coverage of the whole rack. I consider adding a "roboport path" after every three racks. This breaks the standard look, but it might actually make it nicer. I think it is probably best to do it every two racks, that "wastes" roboports but allows me to include a road as well, making it easier to move up and down the adjoining racks?

* Materials not on the bus: some rare materials are occassionally needed. Iron ore (for concrete) and possibly coal can go on the logistic network, but especially for stone you do need quite a lot for rails, concrete, walls and brick paving. I am tempted to simply route stone to a single rack that makes these materials, but it doesn't really fit the modularity requirement.

* Branching and throughput. I was not planning to have a single linear factory. Rather, I will probably have one "main bus", branching of normal buses, and the racks are tied to the branch buses. This allows the main bus to have more capacity and makes for a more compact design (but less "infinite" since a rack will eventually hit the next branch. Was the original idea to have a strictly linear factory?

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

vanatteveldt wrote:Let me share some of my screenshots. I'm still quite early game (only just got roboports), but it might be nice for discussion.

I like the 13 width rule, as it is very compact and gives nice design challenges while allowing for simply modules to not take too much room.
I agree :)
vanatteveldt wrote:I allow mixing production modules in one rack, provided that they are still modular and output to the logistic system. E.g. I have a rack with a single central iron+circuit belt which makes belts, repair packs, lights and pipes. At the moment it is not quite modular, as you can't "copy/paste" the new yellow belt module without also copying the repair pack, so I need to change that:

Image

My current bus has 5 belts (iron / coal / copper / steel / circuits), interleaved with 4 pipes (water, petro, light, heavy). I think interleaving belts and pipes makes it easier to branch off belts as you have a mostly empty row/column to work with. For example, here is my capsule and ammunition factory:

Image

I make lube and sulphur gas as needed, e.g. in my robot frame factory:

Image

As you can see, I need to rework most designs to make sure they are "infinitely repeatable", e.g. the copper/iron belt in the frame factory is problematic, maybe I can add it to the left and branch off as needed. Petrochemical processing does not go in the normal rack system, rather the bus starts/ends at the refining, cracking, and storage facility which can be extended north/south as needed. The pumps to/from the cracking plants is to make sure there is a supply of each material available:

Image

At the other end of the bus is my main station, which feeds into the steel and circuit racks to complete the bus. Coal is still available locally as I put the power plant in my (first) coal outpost. Outposts are also responsible for smelting, so the iron/copper arrives as plates. I also played with circuits the first time, the lights next to the storage area show the supply of copper, iron, coal and crude at their station buffer chests / storage tanks (so copper is low (around 20k), the rest is OK but not full. Especially the coal one is important as I fell into the coal death trap earlier (no coal - no energy - no mines - no coal, and five minutes later no laser turrets - no base). I play without solar since I want to see how bad the natural evolution can get :)

Image
From what I see you currently have different design rules and systems throughout your factory and are just about to think about how you layout your factory in a coherent way. So think about how you want to layout the main bus, if you want any at all, that is.
vanatteveldt wrote:What should go on the bus?

I think the argument about lube, that it is needed in multiple recipes, doesn't make a lot of sense. Otherwise, you might as well add gears to the bus as well. I think the argument should be "it is needed a lot, and takes a lot of space to produce locally, and is cheap enough to waste a couple thousand units on a long belt". This holds for steel and green modules, but imho not for red/blue modules or plastics, batteries etc. Note btw that I use the science cost tweaker, which also needs plastics, batteries, and heavy/light oil for intermediate recipes for blue science. I'm also tempted to throw coal off the bus now that I have roboports, since the few recipes that need it generally don't need a lot of it
Red and blue circuits are needed in large quantities, therefore I put them (or plan to with the blue) on the bus.
Lube is on the bus because fluids propagate quickly along pipes and I want to cut AM3s from the facility blueprints. Yes, gears are also a candidate for the main bus but as they are consumed in large quantities and produced easily from iron plates, which are already on the belt, gears are not on my bus.
vanatteveldt wrote:I'm still struggling with some issues:

* Roboports: Adding roboports in the rack is tricky, since it breaks the modularity assuming you want the whole rack to be covered. You can also add a "roboport strip" at the start of the rack, and mandate that all logistic chests are outside the rack proper, but that makes it more complicated and you do want builder coverage of the whole rack. I consider adding a "roboport path" after every three racks. This breaks the standard look, but it might actually make it nicer. I think it is probably best to do it every two racks, that "wastes" roboports but allows me to include a road as well, making it easier to move up and down the adjoining racks?
I haven't made up my mind on placing roboports and I currently place them whereever needed, without a fixed grid or ruleset.
vanatteveldt wrote:* Materials not on the bus: some rare materials are occassionally needed. Iron ore (for concrete) and possibly coal can go on the logistic network, but especially for stone you do need quite a lot for rails, concrete, walls and brick paving. I am tempted to simply route stone to a single rack that makes these materials, but it doesn't really fit the modularity requirement.
When items are not on the bus but needed in large quantities, e.g. Speed Modules 1 or stone, they get side-fed. Logistics network is IMHO only successful for items that are not needed in large quantities as the longer the distance the more bots are bound just for transporting the items and belts then have a much larger throughput without all the overhead of the bots.
vanatteveldt wrote:* Branching and throughput. I was not planning to have a single linear factory. Rather, I will probably have one "main bus", branching of normal buses, and the racks are tied to the branch buses. This allows the main bus to have more capacity and makes for a more compact design (but less "infinite" since a rack will eventually hit the next branch. Was the original idea to have a strictly linear factory?
My factory initially was not planned as being a single linear one and I allowed branching in itself and also parallel factories.
The main problems were depleted iron and copper plates because the circuits needed much of these, leaving facilities higher up the chain starved for resources.
I did two workarounds: 1) change 1x red belt to 2x blue belts, so 4x the amount of plates/s, 2) allow joining another fresh supply of plates to be fed into the bus, usually after very consuming facilities like for the circuits. Unused plates continue to run through to the top while consumed plates are replaced by fresh ones from the main supply, filling the plate belts again for later facilities.

New bus layout
Having one row of blue belts on top of the rack is convenient, as you can just easily add a splitter here to balance both belts again, for example when you split of plates from one of the belts.


Base with the new bus layout:
Base with new bus layout

It's possible to have belts and pipes in the same column to conserve even more space, but things might become too messy for the small space advantage, however interesting :)
Belts over pipes

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by vanatteveldt »

dee- wrote: From what I see you currently have different design rules and systems throughout your factory and are just about to think about how you layout your factory in a coherent way. So think about how you want to layout the main bus, if you want any at all, that is.
Well, I had a preliminary idea of what rules I would follow, but as (a) it is bolted onto a working factory in a normal game and (b) I run into issues while designing things, I am still searching for the final shape.
dee- wrote: Lube is on the bus because fluids propagate quickly along pipes and I want to cut AM3s from the facility blueprints. Yes, gears are also a candidate for the main bus but as they are consumed in large quantities and produced easily from iron plates, which are already on the belt, gears are not on my bus.
What are AM3's?

I still don't follow this: lube can be easily produced from heavy oil, which is on the belt. So I really don't see the difference between lube and gears.

Red circuits I can see, since they are messy to produce (need plastics) and take much more time to produce than some of the recipes that consume them.

Blue circuits I'm less sure about: they are produced directly from bussed items, and are used only by recipes which take even more time than the blue circuits themselves.
dee- wrote:Base with the new bus layout:
[...]
It's possible to have belts and pipes in the same column to conserve even more space, but things might become too messy for the small space advantage, however interesting :)
[/quote]

I like the layout with underground by default, that makes it much easier to branch off things. "Braiding" the pipes and belts is interesting, I need to play with that to see if it causes trouble. I would think that most racks don't need a lot of fluid, so it should probably be ok. Did you play with it?

Essentially, having extra blue iron belts running alongside the bus really means that you are increasing the bus with an extra plate, no?

Maybe it makes sense to change the 'macro layout': suppose your bus is S->N, if you put the railway between the normal racks and the steel/circuit/refining, you don't have the steel and circuit production draining the iron/copper supply, and the bus above the station is always "complete" and in the right direction, while below iron/copper flow in opposite direction from steel/circuits and crude is also on the bus :

Image
(ugly image! :). black/red = iron/cooper plates, green=circuits (including red), blue=steel, purple=refined products, darkblue=crude oil)


If you double most belts, did you consider making a symmetric bus? e.g. copper - iron - steel - coal - coal - steel - iron -copper? That way, you can place modules on both sides that take only from their "side" of the bus, and have an occasional balancing unit to connect the belts (maybe combined with a roboport - road (mini)rack?). That would waste some bus space since you really don't need double coal, but it does remove (or at least alleviate) the need for branching since at least you now use both sides of the bus?

Edit: Actually, what about this macro-layout:

Image


Station is at the center, from which the raw materials are put on a "minibus" in a circle around the station. From this bus the raw materials are processed to the actual bus materials (including steel, circuits, and refined oil products), which branches to the left and right in a symmetric double bus (ie iron-copper-steel-...-steel-copper-iron). Normal production racks go left and right of the station on both sides of the bus. This essentially creates four single "buses", two to each direction. Moreover, circuits and steel does not draw from these buses, so essentially you have the carrying capacity of 5 or 6 normal buses. Optionally, one or some of these buses can be limited, i.e. removing coal, light/heavy oil, and/or red circuits, although that might just create extra fuss without too much gain.

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

New red circuit rack, inspired by Smoothbandit:

Image

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by Westrum »

Shameless bump. I use this setup in my games now, and it's so awesome and easy to plan. Could you post some more of your "racks" (no pun intended.) ? I would love to see some clever ideas!

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Re: Modular Extensible PnP Factory

Post by dee- »

Awww, thank you Image
I'm glad you found it useful! :)

As this thread is in a kind of messy state I'll refresh it a little bit in the following posts --->

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