Cars on belts

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rengels
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Cars on belts

Post by rengels »

I've been working for some months now on a cars-on-belt delivery system.

"Cars on belts" means that instead of using belts to transport resources directly I am putting cars on the belt and load them up which increases the bandwith of the belt by a huge amount.

I finally got something that is scalable and pretty reliable.
The whole system works like this: A red belt is connecting all mines in a big loop. Cars will travel (empty) on the belt and automatically loaded in a loader station. The cars then travel back to unloading stations in the factory.

This is one of the routing elements that will redirect cars depending on the content:
Car splitter left
Car splitter left
splitter_left-small.jpg (20.37 KiB) Viewed 4196 times

The car will enter from the lower left side. The circuit connection of the belt will prevent multiple cars from entering the splitter at the same time.
The T-intersection will reliably align the cars on the belt while the filter inserter will pick one item from the car (but being unable to put it on the ground due to the power pole).
The gate is connected to the inserter, opening if the inserter holds an item.
Only if a car is next to the power pole the inserter will be able to put the item somewhere (back into the car) and the car can exit to the top.

The splitters at the bottom are used to route other items directly on the belt which enables me to still use the belt as "normal" in addition to the cars being transported on them.

The "walls" are used to align the cars on the belt. In this case I'll center them back on the belt.

This is a smart unloading station that will unload the cars using eight stack inserters at the same time.
unloading-small.jpg
unloading-small.jpg (14.5 KiB) Viewed 4196 times

The unloader works similar as the splitter above, but it also has an input queue and since the items will not be put back right away they can be used to count the cars on queue.

And this is one of the loader units
loader_horiz-small.jpg
loader_horiz-small.jpg (13.67 KiB) Viewed 4196 times

Again I am using a counter for implementing a "continue on inactivity" condition.
It works like this:
A free running counter is multiplied by the result of a condition (e.g. inserter not holding any items).
Whenever one of the inserters is holding an item the counter will be multiplied by 0 and thus stay at 0.
Only if the inserters are not holding an item (they unloaded the whole car) then the counter will increase.
The cars are only allowed to leave the unloading station once the counter has reached 150 (meaning after a little over 2s)

Since the whole "cars on belts" thing is quite complex I also created a web-page explaining the whole thing in more details.
http://www.rengels.de/computer/factorio/cars.html

Bauer
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Re: Cars on belts

Post by Bauer »

Good job nicely done!

Do you have experience with the impact on UPS?
Capacity-wise: How many blue belts do you replace with a red "car" belt?
Is there is a chance for a train track crossing? (I guess that's not the case...)

rengels
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Re: Cars on belts

Post by rengels »

I am currently running around 50 cars for around 140 Space SPM.
I haven't seen any performance hits.

Currently I want to scale the whole thing to 1K SPM.

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Re: Cars on belts

Post by Tekillaa »

Awesome idea, i wish to see if it's possible to have pattern for beaconed factory with car on belts input/output ^^
It should be add in the game: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=67650 :)

rengels
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Re: Cars on belts

Post by rengels »

I've done that.
Setting filters on the cars and then putting them on a round trip through the factory.
The cars got initially filled up with ore, stones and coal (to the correct ratios) and then send through the factory.
First going to the smelters, then green circuits and so on.
At every station stack inserters were pulling out and putting in.

The end result was not really as good as anticipated.
I think cars are better for a high capacity transport system. Getting stuff inside the factory really fast.

And of course they are not as dangerous as trains.

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Re: Cars on belts

Post by Tekillaa »

Mostly, i have this kind of inputs in minds for some dedicated heavy cost recipe only, like mass production of low density with the copper or mass production of blue circuit with the green circuit more than a total "race" with all differents mats in it.

Im the kind of guy who was hopin a "chest for belt" or a belt for stack so that kind of solution is a vanilla way to go into what i want.
It should be add in the game: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=67650 :)

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Re: Cars on belts

Post by Allaizn »

I think I should try to make my stuff more publicly known...
Cars on belts is a quite fascinating topic, and only very few people actually ended up doing more than the absolute basics with it. And then there is me...
Image
I think I'm currently the one guy who knows most about the concept, but people interested in it are rare, so I'm interested in finding them :)
As an intro, I'd suggest reading up on the detailed mechanics of car movement - I made a writeup on it quite a while ago, but be warned, it's quite theoretical.

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Re: Cars on belts

Post by Bauer »

Thanks a lot for all your work. Based upon your research, I built my green chips factory.

Let me add one tiny remark. I found that cars that are closed packed on a red belt have the right spacing to get around corners on blue belts. Might be helpful.

I haved figured it out correctly, however, cars allow for the most densely packed gree chips production. A red belt ful with 14 stacks of 200 chips is a lot (but not quite enough atm...)


cars.jpg
cars.jpg (1.86 MiB) Viewed 3330 times
car config.jpg
car config.jpg (175.52 KiB) Viewed 3330 times

patrick12222010
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Re: Cars on belts

Post by patrick12222010 »

Can you post a link to your map so that I can have feel how this works? This is very interesting.

Bauer
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Re: Cars on belts

Post by Bauer »

old save removed

In this save everything looks fine. But only because this green chips fab is not at it's full capacity (because other parts of the factory are not up and running yet). Now, green chips are the bottleneck and it turns out that:

- The way how I transfer from trains to cars is not sufficient.
and
- Even though the cars are closely packed, I cannot make the assemblers work 100% of the time. This is mainly due to the limitation that there is only 1 inserter putting stuff into them.

The whole thing needs a re-design... *sigh*

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Re: Cars on belts

Post by Bauer »


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MBas
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Re: Cars on belts

Post by MBas »

About two years ago, we have a base with guys Dooces and Leveler where we reach about 1000 lvl of science of mining productivoty. Pretty huge base where we tried to optimize CPU performance issues. Dooces (our Capo di Tutti Capi) tooks performace issues quite seriously, becouse in case of huge bases, this is your actual limit.

We also had a blueprint which simply fires 1 rocket per minute. No belts. About 3K bots. Everything importat was inside. It just need a mining drills nearby (note that 1000 lvl of science mining productivity make drills super fast).

And we also designed a similar idea. We just use tanks instead of cars, but the idea were the same. At the end, dooces calculate, that simple using of bots is still drains less preformance than idea of packing resources into tanks/cars. Hwever, it is plenty of time, our base no longer exists and i guess that belt mechanics were improoved by devs eventually.

There is also a fact that you cannot use full support assembly with 12 beacons. You have to calculate that each chest, inserter and assembly machine is an instance which drain a performance. Beacons and solar panel are almost free. Bots are cheaper over belts so far.

Btw, you can definetly improove your setup by changing cables-greenchips-cables-geenchips ordering for using less number of vehicles. You can use yellow belts nearby inserters and blue belts everywhere else to provide presence of a car as long as possible by less consuption of number of cars.

I like the idea of walls nearby corners. We still had a corner issues with our trying of this setups.

PS: Why is this in Combinator Creations section anyway? :D

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Re: Cars on belts

Post by T-A-R »

Congratulations and thanks for publishing more car on belt stuff. Rather inspiring. Those splitters indeed made some development to the simplified state as they are now.
A thing that comes to mind is belt length, mining specificly. Would'nt belts simply become too long (and thereby having more and more latency)?

Good to see Allainz found this tread aswell. I wanna thank Allainz aswell, as his belt write-up is high quality info, and rather inspiring to read/see. (working on centralized clocked filter stack inserters now myself, because of your car smelter write-up:p)

rengels
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Re: Cars on belts

Post by rengels »

Of course this whole thing is kind of an intelectual exercise.
Trains have so many benefits and are much easier to use.

On the other hand I never understood the problem people are having with latency.
Granted there are some 100k of resources in transit if you are using belts. Possibly for minutes at a time.
But they arrive eventually and they are not lost. And my games definitely last longer than a couple of minutes so it all evens out at the end.

These builds are not for speed builds, that's for sure.

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Re: Cars on belts

Post by MBas »

rengels wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:23 am
Of course this whole thing is kind of an intelectual exercise.
Trains have so many benefits and are much easier to use.

On the other hand I never understood the problem people are having with latency.
Granted there are some 100k of resources in transit if you are using belts. Possibly for minutes at a time.
But they arrive eventually and they are not lost. And my games definitely last longer than a couple of minutes so it all evens out at the end.

These builds are not for speed builds, that's for sure.
If you have only 100K resources in transit, you will definetly not have problems with latency. We produced more than 10 rocket per minute followed by 10000 sci pack per minute on public server. We just left that idea with cars becouse we found better approach, but the main idea was the latency.

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