Robotic network

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The robotic network was introduced with v0.8.0, which also added Repair packs and Construction robots. Roboports are the base of the robotic network. Robots can fly inside this network to every point covered by the roboports. Roboports are expensive both to craft, and to power.

Items

Spawns the Robotic network. Holds and recharges robots and provides the coverage for logistics and construction network.
Moves items between logistic chests, or to/from the player with proper research.
Repairs broken or replaces destroyed entities. Builds, replaces, and removes entities on command.
Requests robots to supply them with certain items in certain amounts.
Items in this chest are provided to logistic robots to send them to storage chests immediately.
Items in this chest are provided to logistic robots if requester chests need the items. This chest can also provide materials to construction robots.
Provide items to collect by construction robots for building/replacement.

Robots

Robots perform any required functions within their coverage area. They need power to keep flying at normal speed. When they have nothing to do, they fly to the nearest roboport to sleep and recharge. There are two types of robots that interface with the robotic network, Construction robots, and Logistic robots.

Damage Repair

All broken entities will be repaired with Repair packs by the Construction robots. Destroyed entities will be replaced, if they are available in the same logistic network.

Repair packs that are stored inside of a roboport are only available to that port's robots. They should be stored in a logistic chest instead, so all robots can use them.

Number of bots in a robotic network

The number of robots per network is soft-limited because roboports have limited space to charge flying robots. So the number of bots in a network depends on:

  • the number of roboports
  • the average distance between the roboports (density)
  • the form of the robotic network/placement of the ports
  • average distance the logistic bots fly between Logistic Chests
  • how much damage the Construction robots must repair and how often they need to place or remove buildings

And in general:

  • number of bots flying
  • number of bots stored in roboports

As a rule of thumb between 50-100 bots per Roboport is possible.

Optimizing a robotic network

The transportation-power of the logistic bots is nearly constant! It depends on

  • Speed of the bots
  • Cargo-stacksize (number of items they can take at once)
  • Number of bots
  • Average distance between your chests (all combinations)
  • How often they fly empty (the more "random" the transport is the better, because then there is a bigger chance that an empty robot is near!)
  • How long they need to wait for recharge - this effect is "blocking", which means that up to an unknown maximum, the transport-power is constant. But, if the waiting queue gets too long, the system falls apart, which means that, counter-intuitively, a slightly lower number of bots is actually more efficient/faster!

To optimize it, one can

  • Research speed or cargo-stacksize.
  • Add more bots to your network
  • Add more roboports at strategic points
This is an expensive enhancement and sometimes doesn't help, but can solve the problem
  • Decrease the average distance between the logistic chests
  • avoid transporting a lot of raw material - instead use transport belts for items with a lot of throughput. Bring the big material flows as near to the target as possible. The transport-power of logistic bots is much bigger than belts, but a constant flow reduces their effectiveness by about half, because they fly empty about half the time.
  • Split a big network in two and move items between them with transport belts or trains (and requester/provider-chests).

Example

It's a very good idea to use a robotic network at a train station to unload the chests that have been filled by the inserters from the wagons. The logistic bots have enough time to recharge between trains. But don't also use them to transport the ore to the furnaces. For that the belts are much more useful, because the furnaces have a constant need for raw material and for constant flow belts are much more useful. This shows the flow:

Wagon ---Inserter---> Provider chest ---Logistic bot---> Storage- or Requester-chest
Requester-Chest ---Inserter---> Belt ---> to the furnaces

Choosing the post for charging

Normally a robot flies to the nearest roboport to recharge. If the queue on that roboport is too long, they eventually choose another port. This is specified by the ratio of <distance to different roboport in tiles> / <queue size of robots waiting>.

Currently, to choose the more distant roboport, the distance must be at most <Number of robots in the queue and on the way> / 2.

So, to choose a roboport that is 10 tiles more distant, it has to have 20 less robots waiting in the queue.

See also