A space efficient layout for the research pod maker. This system requires three parts; the component making, research assembler, and pod delivery to the research lab.
Guide to Compact Research Lab
The first part of research pod making is the manufacturing of plates and printed circuit boards (PCBs). The key to keeping this layout compact is that it must made 1m wide. This means we can only use 4 faces of a hopper for input/output. The trick is to use a sloped conveyor, which looks awkward, but gets the bars diagonally into the hopper for distribution along the 4 available output faces. After the components are made, they are combined into a minihopper using a 3:1 zipper merge.
After the components have been made, they are combined at the Research Assembler. Depending on your world settings, the research assembler might take a lot of power. Therefore, I recommend the dual generator setup shown. Because at this point in the game, lasers don't transfer energy quickly enough, and lithium is hard to come by.
Coal is brought up through the floor into the hopper touching the two generators. Not every hopper needs it's own coal line, as you'll be placing all 7 pod production lines adjacent to each other, so the minihoppers will share the coal between them. Supplying the Iron and Gold lines with the coal will be good enough.
This short conveyor line bringing pods to the Research Lab is constructed as a staircase, so you can climb on top of the unit and observe it's operation. If you want an inventory of pods, use Storage Hoppers rather than the minihoppers used in this screenshot. To keep construction costs down I demonstrated the cheaper option.
Putting It All Together
Even if the lab is running at max speed, basic belts are fast enough to keep the lab stocked. As you can see, knowing how big your pod production is going to be before you build it, will help you in the planning of rooms and base layout. The black lines on the floor indicate will walls will go. I already know this room is going to be 15x20.
My favorite thing about this layout is; after you build the first pod production line, you can superbuild the other 6 lines.
To keep the lab powered, coal will be your most cost effective option as all these generators take no lithium to make. And as you can see, distributing coal to all of them is a simple matter of sharing with each other.
And finally, here is the front side of the coal distribution which feeds the generators touching the Research Assemblers.