Pipelines are used to transport fluids between structures. The Mk.1 Pipeline can transfer up to 300 m3 of fluid per minute, the Mk.2 twice as much. Head lift has to be applied to transport fluids vertically, which can be increased using Pipeline Pumps.
The volume of each pipeline segment is set by its length.
Pipelines can transport one of the following type of fluids below:
- Crude Oil
- Heavy Oil Residue
- Liquid Biofuel
- Alumina Solution
- Sulfuric Acid
- Nitrogen Gas
- Nitric Acid
A Pipeline segment can only contain one type of fluid at a time. Observe the icon of the fluid has the same appearance as a Pipeline indicator containing it.
When building a pipeline, different build modes can be cycled by either pressing or holding R.
- Default: The default build mode.
- Vertical: The pipe will attempt to stay at the same height as the starting point, then turns vertically when approaching the ending point.
- Conveyor 2D: Similar to default mode but with a much smaller turning radius - useful when building a pipe in other build modes is not possible.
- Pipelines have a minimum turning radius of two meters. When building pipelines at a 90-degree turn, count two meters or two 'grids' from the turning point.
- Its graphical appearance may display that the radius smaller than two meters, but it is still impossible to build a turning point of two meters.
When building from a fixed point to a free point, a Pipeline Support will be automatically added to the 2nd point, including its building cost. The support itself is confirmed in two stages. The first stage confirms the rotation of the support along its vertical axis; this is adjusted with the mouse scroll wheel. The second stage confirms the height and pitch; the former adjusted by looking at the desired height (max. seven meters) and the latter adjusted via the mouse scroll wheel. Each build stage is confirmed with LMB.
The center point of a Pipeline Support is positioned at 1.8 meters above the Foundation it is snapped on. This also applies to Pipelines with its Pipeline Supports removed.
The Pipeline is a metal tube. If the pipe contains a straight part of a minimum of six meters, a Flow Indicator will appear in the middle of the segment, which is a set of three rings on a retractable rail. A pipeline indicator displays four indications:
- Type of fluid content: the color of the window (the middle part that is exposed) corresponds to the type and color of the fluid it is carrying.
- % Amount of fluid: the distance of the 1st and 3rd rings from the center ring corresponds to the % amount fluid. If the pipes are full, then the rings are fully retracted. If a pipe is empty, all the rings collapse in the middle.
- Flow direction: Indicated by the pattern of the pulses. The first ring that expands indicates the fluid is flowing from that direction. The fluid flows towards the 3rd ring.
- Flow rate: By the distance of the ring expansion. If the flow rate is very small, the rings barely 'breathe'.
The pulse rate is always maintained at one pulse per second.
The Pipeline contents can be emptied by interacting with a segment of it (default E) and then turning the flush lever in its UI. There are two options:
- Pipe Segment - Only that segment is flushed.
- Full Pipe Network - All pipes connected to the selected pipe are flushed.
Fluids in a Pipeline can flow between different elevations based on the head lift. Head lift is not required for perfectly horizontal Pipelines. A Pipeline has a radius of about one meter. Thus, a perfectly horizontal Pipeline requires at least one meter of head lift to be filled. (On the head lift indicator on a connected Pipeline Pump, it is displayed as '1.3 meters' instead)
Head lift does not apply to Nitrogen Gas.
Pipelines have a storage capacity of 1.327 m3 per meter length.
There is currently no distinct building in-game that allows for a controlled overflow of fluids in a pipeline. However, there is a workaround by building the following:
- The higher priority fluid consumers should be directly connected to the fluid source with a pipe.
- The lower priority fluid consumers should be connected, in series, at the end of the line, with a section of 10 meter high pipes in-between to restrict the flow. Therefore, when the preceding pipeline is full, the fluid will pass through the restriction.
- If an overflow sink is desired, the fluid can be either packaged and sinked, or (preferably) used up in recipes, such as Wet Concrete for Water.
This works based on the following principles:
- Pipes nearer to the fluid source (such as Extractors, Refineries) will be filled first - therefore buildings connected to such pipes will be prioritized.
- Pipes will obey the laws of gravity - pipes at a lower height will fill up before pipes at a taller height.
- Pipes well beyond the generated headlift will never fill up.
Pipe modification and fluid content
- When a pipeline is modified by either inserting a Pipeline Junction Cross or a Pipeline Pump onto it, all its fluid contents are emptied.
- Similar to above, when a Pipeline Junction Cross or a Pipeline Pump is removed from a previously continuous pipe, all its fluid contents are emptied.
- Pipelines were memed by the community since the start of the game, with Coffee Stain continuing to participate in the meme of their non-existence right up until the launch of Update 3, even joking that pipes would be removed in Update 4.
- Pipelines do not encroach on built foundations, but foundations will encroach upon built pipelines. Thus, always build foundations first, then the pipeline.
- There are ring-shaped welding joints along the pipeline, spaced roughly one meter apart, but not exactly one meter. Do not use those rings for distance measurement.
- Pipeline Mk.2 was first showcased in a teaser trailer.
- Originally, Mk.1 Pipelines were supposed to carry 600 m3/min, but it was reduced to 300 due to technical complications.
- In an October 1st, 2020 Q&A Video Pipes were jokingly requested by the community and then jokingly denied that they would ever be added. On October 27th, 2020, more pipes were added.
- Mk.2 Pipelines have issues transporting fluid at its max capacity, 600 m3/min. Despite its reading shows 600, there is s 1~3 % loss in fluid flow, so it is advised not to use its full capacity.
- Every machine input has a hidden buffer of about 5m3. Upon loading a save, these buffers are emptied, and thus consume 5 m3 from any connected pipe, even if the visible internal tank of the machine is full.
Pipelines, as seen in the 0.3 Experimental Update Trailer
The UI of a Pipeline, displaying its content and flow rate.
- Patch 0.3.6.3:
- Changed Pipeline Mk.2 build cost from one Alclad Aluminum Sheet and one Plastic to two Copper Sheets and one Plastic
- Moved Pipeline Mk.2 from Tier 7 - Bauxite Refinement to Tier 6 - Pipeline Engineering Mk.2
- Patch 0.3.6:
- Introduced Pipeline Mk.2
- Renamed Pipeline to Pipeline Mk.1
- Patch 0.3: Introduced
- YouTube - Coffee Stain - August 1st, 2018 - Q&A: But... will there be Pipes?
- YouTube - February 17th, 2020 Livestream - Q&A: Is there a reason why you hate Pipes?
- YouTube - February 17th, 2020 Livestream - Snutt & Jace Talk: We can finally talk about Update 3
- YouTube - November 17th, 2020 Livestream - Trolling: Removing Pipes
- Twitch - CoffeeStainStudiosDevs - Pipes Mk.2