Automating a blast furnace with AE

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AlanEsh

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Jul 29, 2019
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I've been playing with Applied Energistics and just love it. I'm not doing anything very advanced -- basic storage on formatted drives for the most part.
I've recently attached my SC tree farm cargo manager to the network via an ME Import Bus. This has worked brilliantly, allowing me to add a powered furnace to the mix with its own ME Import and Export Buses, turning the Logs into Charcoal to burn in my boiler (also fed with an ME Export Bus).

Next I would like to automate steel production using a similar technique plus a level emitter (when network has 4 stacks of steel, stop creating it).
I guess my question isn't really about AE, it's about the Coke Oven + Blast Furnace relationship. I know the following:
1 Coal in an Oven makes 1 Coal Coke in 3 minutes.
4 Logs in an Oven makes 4 Charcoal in (?) minutes. (anyone know if this is still 3 minutes?)

1 Coal Coke in a Blast Furnace makes 1 Steel Ingot in 16(?) seconds
4 Charcoal in a Blast Furnace makes 1 Steel ingot in (?) seconds

OK finally, aside from the huge space considerations, wouldn't it be most efficient for me to take logs from my tree farm, put them in the coke ovens, and then put the resutling charcoal into the Blast furnace?
I'm thinking speed might be a big factor too; I know Coke Ovens are really slow. Perhaps 4 of them could turn Logs into Charcoal as fast as a single Powered Furnace can do it?

Any assistance with these numbers would be much appreciated. I'd test it but i'm stuck at work :)
 

AlanEsh

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Jul 29, 2019
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Home from work with some answers...
1 Coal in an Oven makes 1 Coal Coke in 3 minutes.
4 Logs in an Oven makes 4 Charcoal in TWELVE minutes. -- lol well, ONE log takes just as long to convert to charcoal as one coal does to coke. TERRIBLE.

1 Coal Coke in a Blast Furnace makes 1 Steel Ingot in 16 seconds
4 Charcoal in a Blast Furnace makes 1 Steel ingot in 16 seconds -- well at least this makes sense

So to sum up... forget using coke ovens, just use a Powered Furnace to make Charcoal. The Powered Furnace creates a full stack of Charcoal before a Coke Oven can make TWO Charcoal :D
 

Harvest88

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Jul 29, 2019
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Home from work with some answers...
1 Coal in an Oven makes 1 Coal Coke in 3 minutes.
4 Logs in an Oven makes 4 Charcoal in TWELVE minutes. -- lol well, ONE log takes just as long to convert to charcoal as one coal does to coke. TERRIBLE.

1 Coal Coke in a Blast Furnace makes 1 Steel Ingot in 16 seconds
4 Charcoal in a Blast Furnace makes 1 Steel ingot in 16 seconds -- well at least this makes sense

So to sum up... forget using coke ovens, just use a Powered Furnace to make Charcoal. The Powered Furnace creates a full stack of Charcoal before a Coke Oven can make TWO Charcoal :D
But that so the Coke Ovens aren't op then since you either get speed for power input or free charcoal making as well as some extra creosote for bonus eu in a semi liquid generator.
 

Milaha

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Jul 29, 2019
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If you are using your tree farm in a boiler consider using a TE sawmill instead of turning it into charcoal directly. You get just a bit more heat from the planks than you would from charcoal, and you probably are going to get plenty of charcoal byproduct off the sawdust to run your blast furnace on. That's how I keep my blast furnace going anyway.
 

AlanEsh

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Jul 29, 2019
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If you are using your tree farm in a boiler consider using a TE sawmill instead of turning it into charcoal directly. You get just a bit more heat from the planks than you would from charcoal, and you probably are going to get plenty of charcoal byproduct off the sawdust to run your blast furnace on. That's how I keep my blast furnace going anyway.
I did that last build (sawdust went into a compressor to make Plates), and find that the bonus heat isn't enough to make me want to deal with the somewhat convoluted setup. The charcoal via AE+Furnace system is simple and suits me.
However if I decide to add another boiler I'll likely make the switch back to a sawmill.
 

Milaha

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Jul 29, 2019
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I did that last build (sawdust went into a compressor to make Plates), and find that the bonus heat isn't enough to make me want to deal with the somewhat convoluted setup. The charcoal via AE+Furnace system is simple and suits me.
However if I decide to add another boiler I'll likely make the switch back to a sawmill.
With all the tools now it is actually pretty easy. The combination of factorization routers, XY fabricators, and AE makes automating the whole chain require relatively few devices and resources, while being super easily expandable.
 

brujon

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Jul 29, 2019
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Crafting of steel on demand isn't feasible because of the time it takes to make steel. What you can do, though, is make it so that the ME Import Bus keeps a certain amount of Steel made at all times. That way, when you need a lot of steel for a certain project, it's already there, and will replenish over time. Steel really isn't something that's used a lot outside of building HP boilers and making advanced rails. I mean, it can be made equivalent to Refined Iron in config files, but Steel is harder to make, so unless you want everything on hardcore mode... By the by, the same can be said for Creosote Oil, it's not something you need in massive quantities, although you might have it anyway if you want to turn a lot of coal into the much more fuel efficient Coal Coke, but the only way that's going to happen at the moment, is by making multiple Coke Ovens and cooking multiple stacks of coal at the same time. Apparently there will be Industrial versions of the Blast Furnace and Coke Oven coming in future versions of Railcraft that will do the job faster, but they don't exist yet, so for now, we got what we got.

Do you need Creosote Oil? If so, you're better off making Coal Coke out of Coal instead of burning logs in a Coke Oven to make Charcoal, as that will both give you a more useful byproduct, and give you more creosote oil per operation. It's completely not feasible to run Boilers off of Coal Coke, though. You can use them to heat them up, as it does the job quite nicely, but running them on Coal Coke would require... Insane amounts of Coke Ovens. I don't even have any idea how many.

If you want to run your boilers on Charcoal, it's probably better to turn the logs into Charcoal using powered furnaces or the much faster Induction Furnace. I'd choose the latter, and just use Power Converters to feed the Induction Furnace out of the boiler it's feeding it's charcoal into. If you want to be fancy, you can transmute 7 logs into 7 charcoal using the minium stone + 1 piece of coal. I don't think it accepts charcoal but i could be wrong. Then you can use Fabricators, and nothing beats the speed at which this setup can convert logs into Charcoal. Barrels do count as valid inventories... If you have a buildup of logs, don't mind losing out on 1 log smelted per piece of coal, and need a lot of charcoal fast, this is the way to go. 1 fully charged minium stone can "smelt" nearly 10 stacks before it breaks.
 

AlanEsh

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Jul 29, 2019
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Crafting of steel on demand isn't feasible because of the time it takes to make steel. What you can do, though, is make it so that the ME Import Bus keeps a certain amount of Steel made at all times.
Yes, as I worked with automating steel production last night I came to the same conclusion. I really don't need "on demand" steel production; I just want to maintain a stack in inventory and have it replenish if the network has less.

I was experimenting with using a redstone Emitter to apply a signal to the the Export bus whenever Steel in the network drops below 64 ingots, sending Iron ingots to the Blast Furnace, but this proved to be a bit sloppy. If you pulled one steel out of the network, the emitter would turn on and stay on for the 16 seconds it takes to cook a Steel ingot. This would fill the Furnace with Iron Ingots and proceed to cook all 64 of them before shutting off, because the Blast furnace is "dumb", as far as I can tell. Now you have 128 Steel in your network... I suppose the overproduction would not go beyond 64 steel, since pulling all 128 steel ingots out of the network would fill the Furnace with Iron and then produce one steel every 16 seconds until the 64 quota was met, and again it would burn off the remaining stack of iron in the Furnace leaving 128 in the network. Sure it works, but it is sloppy! ;)

Tonight I'll change the setup so the emitter is pointed at the Import Bus that pulls Steel out of the Furnace. I'll fill the Blast Furnace with Iron and Charcoal and let it make a stack of Steel. When the emitter detects less than 64 Steel in the network, the Import bus will pull the balance from the Blast furnace inventory. Once the 64 ingots are back in the network, it will stop pulling Steel from the furnace. Aaaand yes that simply moves the 64 ingot overstock of steel from the network to the furnace inventory, but then it becomes "out of sight out of mind" and makes me feel all organized and happy :D[DOUBLEPOST=1365083830][/DOUBLEPOST]
But that so the Coke Ovens aren't op then since you either get speed for power input or free charcoal making as well as some extra creosote for bonus eu in a semi liquid generator.
Hm, well yeah I realize it makes creosote, which is a horrible fuel but does have some other uses. However, one log makes 250 creosote, and one coal makes 1000 creosote, so ... I guess I don't see why 4 logs shouldn't take the same amount of time to process as one coal does.

Doesn't matter -- I don't need real coal coke or creosote, so Charcoal via a Powered Furnace is my answer.
 

DarkMukke

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Jul 29, 2019
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I was experimenting with using a redstone Emitter to apply a signal to the the Export bus whenever Steel in the network drops below 64 ingots, sending Iron ingots to the Blast Furnace, but this proved to be a bit sloppy. If you pulled one steel out of the network, the emitter would turn on and stay on for the 16 seconds it takes to cook a Steel ingot. This would fill the Furnace with Iron Ingots and proceed to cook all 64 of them before shutting off, because the Blast furnace is "dumb", as far as I can tell. Now you have 128 Steel in your network... I suppose the overproduction would not go beyond 64 steel, since pulling all 128 steel ingots out of the network would fill the Furnace with Iron and then produce one steel every 16 seconds until the 64 quota was met, and again it would burn off the remaining stack of iron in the Furnace leaving 128 in the network. Sure it works, but it is sloppy! ;)
There is an easier fix to only have the EXACT amount int he network but you will always have 2 stacks of iron less in the network (1 as steel).
Just put the level emitter on the import bus

BUt this also gives you a little buffer
 

Heliomance

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Jul 29, 2019
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Yes, as I worked with automating steel production last night I came to the same conclusion. I really don't need "on demand" steel production; I just want to maintain a stack in inventory and have it replenish if the network has less.

I was experimenting with using a redstone Emitter to apply a signal to the the Export bus whenever Steel in the network drops below 64 ingots, sending Iron ingots to the Blast Furnace, but this proved to be a bit sloppy. If you pulled one steel out of the network, the emitter would turn on and stay on for the 16 seconds it takes to cook a Steel ingot. This would fill the Furnace with Iron Ingots and proceed to cook all 64 of them before shutting off, because the Blast furnace is "dumb", as far as I can tell. Now you have 128 Steel in your network... I suppose the overproduction would not go beyond 64 steel, since pulling all 128 steel ingots out of the network would fill the Furnace with Iron and then produce one steel every 16 seconds until the 64 quota was met, and again it would burn off the remaining stack of iron in the Furnace leaving 128 in the network. Sure it works, but it is sloppy! ;)

Tonight I'll change the setup so the emitter is pointed at the Import Bus that pulls Steel out of the Furnace. I'll fill the Blast Furnace with Iron and Charcoal and let it make a stack of Steel. When the emitter detects less than 64 Steel in the network, the Import bus will pull the balance from the Blast furnace inventory. Once the 64 ingots are back in the network, it will stop pulling Steel from the furnace. Aaaand yes that simply moves the 64 ingot overstock of steel from the network to the furnace inventory, but then it becomes "out of sight out of mind" and makes me feel all organized and happy :D
If you don't mind a bit more convoluted setup, I think you can eliminate the overstock. Put an export bus on the furnace to keep it filled with charcoal at all times, but instead of an export bus for iron, put an interface on it with the recipe iron -> steel in it. Then, anywhere you like on the network, put an export bus pointed at an interface. Put a level emitter attached to the export bus, set to turn it on only when you drop below 64 ingots of steel, and set the export bus to export steel on craft only mode. What that will do is when you drop below 64 ingots, the level emitter will try to export one. Because of the mode it's set to, this will require crafting an ingot, and until the crafting is done, it won't try and export any more.

I'm not certain, but it might even work if you teach the interface that the recipe is one iron plus however much charcoal. If it does, that would mean you don't have to keep it filled with charcoal.
 

DarkMukke

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Jul 29, 2019
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Yes but that way it wont be in the network but in the interface

unless you make a separate network for it
 

DarkMukke

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Jul 29, 2019
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ah thought you meant to set the export config to 128 steel or something (i do it to have the system keep making solar panels in the background)
 

AlanEsh

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Jul 29, 2019
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There is an easier fix to only have the EXACT amount int he network but you will always have 2 stacks of iron less in the network (1 as steel).
Just put the level emitter on the import bus
lol, yes that solution was in the following paragraph of my post you quoted :D