This guide describes how a mass storage system can be used to maintain a continuous stockpile. This is particularly useful in the case of fuel (HCEF), where empty canisters must be filled, consumed, and refilled, in a non-stop loop.
Non-Stop Fuel Loop Guide
The cost of a canister is trivial if you have an Iron vein in the millions. Because of this, many people choose to simply macerate empty canisters and this solves the problem of a refill loop. But some people enjoy figuring out the challenge of refilling spent canisters. The 'holy grail' of this system is devising how you will incorporate the missile production into the loop. The issue with missiles is, the missile line doesn't return any empties, fuel is constantly leaving the system, and a loop eventually runs out of fuel without new cans entering. But, how do you maintain a flow of new cans at the same rate that fuel is consumed? If you add to many cans, then the fuel will stop once it fills with empties. The trick is to use a mass storage system as a line buffer.
The mass storage will have three points of entry, which all canisters use to enter the fuel line. They are the FALCOR input, the belt input, and the new input.
The FALCOR input accepts delivery of canisters from random places. The purpose of using FALCORs to deliver/return fuel is to make the fuel line shorter. For example, a hive mind farm 100m from the base would need at least that many conveyors to get fuel out to this location. There's just no need to have that much fuel sitting around. So the FALCOR could fill up a Logistic Hopper with just enough fuel to keep everything running.
Manufacturing + OET (Orbital Energy Transmitter)
The second canister inputs are belts which loop through a manufacturing floor, and an OET charge. For information about keeping your power separate from your manufacturing.
The third input is a brand new canister that is crafted from the pipe fitter. On this line, the stocking ports can be limited to a max capacity, like 300 max and the mass storage would have a capacity of 1000. Stocking Port limits prevent new canisters from filling up the mass storage system. The mass storage will always have 700 free space.
Maintaining this continuous balance though machinery, means you can hook up a missile system, which only consumes fuel, into the same machinery that supplies the loop with fuel. When the threshold on the stocking port drops below the limit, new canisters enter the system.
Empty canisters exit the mass storage system from the left, and go around to the opposite side of the Refinery Reactor Vat.
The fuel is being split three ways. The manufacturing line will contain a split further down to service missile production. Those canisters will not return to the loop, and it's the reason we have a new canister maker, so we can maintain the limit set at stocking ports. The OET line will be consumed and returned at a high rate of flow.
The distribution of fuel by beacon is one of the neatest things about this game. Drones deliver items into hard to reach locations. This simple distribution array makes sure there is always a free beacon for a FALCOR unit to travel to.
This technique is a simple and effective method to regulate flow in systems. While there anything else in this game where flow needs to be carefully maintained, I hear that the next version of this game will need it.