Factories are the places where raw goods are harvested, where raw materials are turned into finished products, and even the final links in the chain where consumers can buy the products, such as hardware stores and gas stations. Factories also need transportation for their workers and mail. They can also be enhanced using power lines. Clicking on a factory will open the Factory dialogue and an overview of existing factories are given in the Factory List, and displayed on the World Map.
In Simutrans factories work only by contract. Each factory will have pre-arranged contracts to send/sell and receive/buy goods from each other. You can not simply take coal from any mine and take it to any power station. Additionally, that coal might be demanded by a nearby steel mill and a glass mill, but not demanded by a nearby power station. See HowToTransportGoods to learn more about these dependencies.
When you transport cargo to a factory that requires it, the cargo is taken from the vehicle, and placed into the factories input storage. The factory will then go about turning the input products into output products at a rate (its production) that is slightly different for each factory of a given type. If the input storage is full, no more cargo of that type may be loaded onto vehicles for transportation to the factory, until it has used up enough for there to be free capacity in the input storage. Note that the input storage frequently will become overfull, since cargo will continue to load onto your vehicles while there is storage capacity left; and cargo already on route when the input storage becomes full will still be accepted at the factory when it arrives.
The finished products will be stored in the factories output storage until it can be transferred to a nearby station, and onto a vehicle. You will have to build a well balanced system to ensure the factories input capacities are kept full, and the output capacities are kept empty, else production at the factory will cease.
There can be multiple input products, such as coal+iron-> steel, or none at all, like a forest who only produces logs. Some factories only consume products, such as a car dealer or home market.
The workers do not live at the factories — they live in cities. So, you will need to provide transportation between the cities the workers live in and the factory. Mail works identical to passengers - even if the proportions are different. When a passenger in a city has found a way to work using your transport system, he will also return via the same way. So, as more passengers want to travel to a factory from a city, more passengers will also be waiting at the factory for a ride home.
- Pak 64 factory chains
Q: All I have in my game is coal mines, oil rigs, and power stations. Where are all the other industries?
A: At the beginning, there are very few factories on the map. As cities grow and surpass certain numbers of inhabitants (normally every 2,000), a new city market chain is placed on the map. If you would like to (cheat) and have a few more industries on the map, increase the number of Markets in Cities on the New Map dialogue. You can also use the Special Tools, but this is REALLY cheating.
Q:Why do industries just give a big amount of resources the first time you make a line for them?
A:The factories have some output capacity (check the Factory dialogue ). If there is a sufficient supply of input products, they produce until their output storage is full. Once you offer a transport service for the products, you get the accumulated goods at once. After that you get the regular production. Should your station become full, the industry will stop transferring cargo to your station, and store it in its own output storage until that is full when it will stop producing goods until you have transported away enough for it to again have available storage capacity.
Q: Is an industry supposed to share its production between contractors?
A: Basically yes. There is some prioritization though. Consumer with zero incoming stock are served first. Only when all connected consumer have an overflowing stock, then goods will go equally again to all overflowing consumer. Usually you should be able to distribute the production to several consumers. I.e. distributing gasoline from a refinery to a lot of gas station works very nice in my test games.
Q: I have connected a factory to a city, but very few passengers are being created.
A: Passengers (and mail) leaving a factory will be equal to those traveling to the factory. A factory no longer works like a passenger producing machine. For every one passenger and mail that finds a valid route to a factory, one return passenger and mail is generated at the factory. There is also a passenger and mail rating. Factories with higher rating will get more passengers/mail.
Q: There should be (passengers/mail/goods) waiting here, but they are not appearing in my station!
A: Remember that the station has to have the necessary attributes to collect (passengers/mail/goods). Use the Station dialogue to see what your station is collecting from the catchment area.