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Factorio is a game where you build factories and fight off aliens.

I find it tremendously enjoyable because at the heart of the game is the idea of optimization and maximization. As a programmer, I think of my programs in a similar way that I think of the factories in Factorio.

Belt Speed

(Version 0.12.6)

By some testing I've calculating the belt throughput.

  • Yellow Belts (basic transport) run about 13 items per second, fully compressed. It can keep about 6 blue inserters busy.
  • Red Belts (fast transport) run about 27 items per second, fully compressed. It can keep about 12 blue inserters busy. This is twice what a yellow belt can carry.
  • Blue Belts (express transport) run about 40 items per second, fully compressed. It can keep about 18 blue inserters busy. This is three times a yellow belt, or 3/2 of a red belt.

2 long-handed inserters or 1 blue inserter?

(version 12.6)

Which is faster: moving 100 items from one chest to another with a blue inserter, or moving 50 items in 2 chests with red inserters? The red inserters are slightly faster.

My conclusion is always use blue belts, except when space demands red inserters, such as moving materials from one cargo wagon to another.

Assembling Machine Math

Aside from the power consumption and production speed, there are some obvious topological things to note about any assembling machine.

  • Using blue inserters, you can have up to 8 inserters feeding one assembling machine, and one which must be the output.
  • Using red inserters, you can have up to 17 inserters feeding ingredients, leaving one which must be the output. Note that 2 red inserters are only slightly faster than 1 blue inserter.
  • Yellow machines run quite a bit faster than one blue inserter can handle. It you're building copper wire for instance (1 copper plate -> 2 copper wires) you'll either need to take advantage of the inserter stack bonus by putting the ingredients into a box (a cargo wagon, a car, etc... can also substitute) or having 2 blue inserters loading from a belt. Note that you have to think of total throughput, so you must have enough roboports and logistic robots to keep the boxes loaded, with enough input into the logistic network, or have at least 2 blue inserters loading the box.

More Roboports to Reduce Charging Time

Note that the lifecycle of a logistic robot demands that it spend some of its time recharging. If you don't have enough roboports, the nearby roboports will form a large queue of logistic robots trying to recharge. Thus, adding more logistic robots will not improve throughput of your logistic network if charging is the bottleneck. You'll have to add more roboports.