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This article describes the basics of setting up production lines, how to read the UI of buildings (such as input and output item rates), and how to calculate the ratio of the building.
- 1 Reading buildings' interface
- 2 Splitting and merging
- 3 Overclocking and belt speed
- 4 Fractions and decimals
- 5 Complex production line
- 6 Online tools
Reading buildings' interface
A simple production line involves Miner -> Smelter -> Constructor -> Storage Container. In this example, all the buildings are in a 1:1 ratio, as the item production and consumption rates are matched up perfectly (marked in red). Below each building is their UI, which can be accessed by standing near to a building then interact E with it.
Miner extracts ores at a rate that depends on both the resource node's purity and the Miner's mark. The resource node's purity, either impure, normal, or pure is fixed based on its location on the map. Higher marks of Miner can be unlocked at later Milestones which improves the mining rate. In this example the Miner Mk.1 extracts 30 Iron Ores / min from the resource node below it.
Constructor crafts useful items out of Ingots. In the above example, every three Iron Ingots are consumed to craft two Iron Plates, notice the items after the Constructor are produced in groups of two. These numbers can be ignored in automated setups, as we should be looking for item consumption and production rates. The smaller numbers below the bold texts are the rates - 30 Iron Ingots are consumed per minute and 20 Iron Plates are produced per minute.
Looking at the crafting ratio (the bold texts), we can deduce that each Iron Plate requires 1.5 Iron Ingots to craft.
3 / 2 = 1.5
Conveyor Belts automatically transport items from one building to the next so you don't have to manually carry the items all the time. They have a rated item flow rate, so if a higher item flow rate is required, consider using higher marks of Conveyor Belts, or by constructing multiple parallel belts. Else, the entire production line may get slowed down due to insufficient item flow.
The Storage Container in the above example is optional. Its purpose to store and buffer produced items so that the machines before it can run smoothly. Most of the production buildings can only store up to one stack of items at its output slot, and once it is full, the machine stops.
The speed of all the above machines can be altered with overclocking, which will be discussed in the section below.
Splitting and merging
Production chains rarely work in a 1:1 building ratio; the example shown in the previous section is just a special case. If there is a mismatch in the buildings' ratio, the entire chain is slowed down proportionally to the slowest element in the chain. This reduces the efficiency and should be avoided.
To achieve 100% efficiency (as indicated by the '100%' at the lower right of each machine's UI), make sure the production rate from one machine matches the consumption rate of the next machine. And if they don't match, just build more machines until the numbers match.
The term 'Efficiency' is used to describe the uptime of a machine, usually denoted in percentage (%).
If only one Smelter is built, the Copper Ores produced by the Miner will not be consumed fast enough, and they will backlog into the Miner and causing it to run at only 50% of the time. This is equivalent to 50% efficiency.
Each Smelter produces Copper Ingots at 30/min.
Each Constructor consumes Copper Ingots at only 15/min. Similarly, split each of the Copper Ingot belt into two, this means four Constructors are required.
30 / 15 = 2 (each Smelter output belt split into two)
2 x 2 = 4 (two Smelters support four Constructors)
Each Constructor produces Wires at 30/min.
If only one Constructor crafting Wires is connected to the Constructor crafting Cable, the latter will only run 50% of the time due to insufficient input rate. This is equivalent to 50% efficiency.
Each Constructor produces Cables at 30/min.
Conveyor Belt Mk.1 can only transport 60 items/min. In the above example, the belt carrying Copper Ores after the Miner, and the belts transporting Wires after the Mergers are operating at their maximum capacity.
A Storage Container is used to store each type of item. As a good practice, avoid mixing items in Storage Containers. A Merger is used to merge two Wire belts into one before the Container so that you don't have to build two Containers for Wires.
Overclocking and belt speed
As the number of resource nodes in the world is finite, there is a hard limit on the total extraction rate. To maximize the potential of a resource node, Miners should be Overclocked. The overclocking ability can be researched in MAM.
Conveyor Belt Mk.1 is not fast enough (60 items/min) to pull out all the ores extracted by the overclocked Miner (150 items/min), thus higher marks of the belt are required. Else, the Miner will not run at its overclocked potential.
Conveyor Belt Mk.3 can handle the 150/min item flow rate and should be built right after the Miner. Where the item flow rates are between 120/min and 60/min, Conveyor Belt Mk.2 should be used. The remaining belts can be built as Mk.1. Alternatively, all belts can be built with Conveyor Belt Mk.3, if there is sufficient material to do so.
Splitters are built in a manifold style. Each split takes away the machine consumption rate from the main belt or half of the incoming item speed, whichever is lesser (see the yellow numbers beside the belt). The last Splitter at the far left is optional; it is built for future expansions, when higher marks of Miner are unlocked. Plus they look neater.
Fractions and decimals
There are many occasions where the building ratio doesn't end up as integers. The Limestone -> Concrete setup, for instance, is the first production chain that contains fractional ratio:
60 / 45 = 1.333 or 1+1/3
The Limestones produced by a normal Miner can support 1.333... Constructors.
Obviously, we can't build one-third of a machine, so two Constructors should be built to fully consume the Limestone produced by the Miner. But then two Constructors require 90 Limestones/min.
Let's see a few approaches to solve this issue:
Underclock the last machine
Underclock the 2nd Constructor to 34% is the closest form we can achieve the 1.333... ratio. Do not underclock it to 33%, as we will lose the 0.33% processing speed. Take note Clock Speed can only be set to integers of percentage.
Underclock all machines
Underclock both Constructors to 67% has the benefit of improved power saving compared to the previous method. You can examine the power consumption of each underclocked building and add them up.
1.3333 / 2 = 0.6666 = 67%
Not underclock any of the Constructor works just fine. In general, any decimal in building ratio can be simply rounded up to the next integer, for example:
60 / 45 = 1.333 -> 2
400 / 30 = 13.33 -> 14
100 / 110 = 0.909 -> 1
In the above example, if both Constructors are not underclocked, they will just run and stop intermittently, but still effectively converts 60 Limestones / min to 20 Concretes / min. The difference is, underclock reduces power consumption. This method can be used before the Overclocking ability is unlocked.
Overclock the Miner
Overclock the Miner to 150% or 225% will make the ratio becomes integer.
45 x 2 = 90
90 / 60 = 1.5 (150% overclock, one Miner to two Constructors)
45 x 3 = 135
135 / 60 = 2.25 (225% overclock, one Miner to three Constructors)
Overclock the Constructor
Only build one (1) Constructor and overclock it to 134% allows all the Limestone to be consumed effectively. Take note as Power Shard is a limited resource, this method is not recommended.
Complex production line
Reinforced Iron Plate, for example, consists of more than one ingredient. In the above image, the buildings are set up based on a 1:1 ratio. This setup still works, but with lower efficiency due to incorrect building ratio. Let's examine each of the components:
Miner Mk.1 on a pure Iron node extracts 120 Iron Ores / min. Pure nodes are quite common in Northern Forest and they yield double rate. The Conveyor Belt Mk.1 after it is not fast enough and should be replaced with Conveyor Belt Mk.2.
Splitting - question
Here is the problem. Iron Ingots are to be split among Iron Rods and Iron Plates, but we don't know the ratio between them. To solve this, we can use the top-down method: start from the end product, then work backward to its raw ingredients.
Reinforced Iron Plate
In the previous section, we have learned that each Iron Plate requires 1.5 Iron Ingots to craft. To produce 30 Iron Plates/min, 45 Iron Ingots/min is required.
30 * 1.5 = 45
Each Iron Rod can be crafted into four Screws. That means 60 Screws/min requires 15 Iron Rods/min.
60 / 4 = 15
Each Iron Rod is crafted from one (1) Iron Ingot; the ratio is 1:1. That means 15 Iron Ingots/min is required to craft 15 Iron Rods/min.
Splitting - conclusion
For each minute, 45 Iron Ingots should be allocated to Iron Plates and 15 Iron Ingots should be allocated to Iron Rods. The total consumption would be 60 Iron Ingots/min.
45 + 15 = 60
By dividing those numbers by a common divisor, the ratio can be simplified to 3:1. That means, three quarter of the Iron Ingot goes to the Iron Plate and a quarter goes to Iron Rod.
45 : 15 == 1 : 3 (divide both by 15)
The Miner above has the capability to produce 120 Iron Ores/min, which can be crafted into 120 Iron Ingots/min. This means up to two Assemblers crafting Reinforced Iron Plates can be supported.
120 / 60 = 2
With these numbers, we can work from the bottom-up, reversing the calculation process, then multiply the setup by 2. From here and below, we omit the word 'per minute' for simplicity.
Constructor (Iron Plate)
45 x 2 = 90
90 Iron Ingots are used to craft 60 Iron Plates. Three (3) Constructors are required.
90 / 30 = 3
Constructor (Iron Rod)
15 x 2 = 30
30 Iron Ingots are used to craft 30 Iron Rods. Two (2) Constructors are required.
30 / 15 = 2
60 x 2 = 120
30 Iron Rods are used to craft 120 Screws. Three (3) Constructors are required.
120 / 40 = 3
Assembler (Reinforced Iron Plate)
Two Assemblers are required to craft the Reinforced Iron Plate.
We will use Splitters and Mergers to distribute the items. Identify which belts will carry more than 60/min, and construct them with Conveyor Belt Mk.2 or above.