Metals Labs and Gas/Oil Labs take some goods as inputs and produce "reports", that boost corresponding Research Centers.

How much input they need? They don't say how much items they consume, and seem to clog easily.


Unlike Research Centers, that consume all accumulated reports on each production cycle, Labs will only consume one item of each accepted type. If no items are delivered, a Lab will produce 1 report per cycle, with each item generating a stated number of additional reports. E.g. an Gas/Oil Labs that has Oil, Gas and Plastic loaded, will produce 16 reports per cycle.

Labs have slower than usual production cycle - 20 ticks - that makes it hard to optimally feed them. If your, say, Plastic maker produces 2 Plastic per cycle (10 ticks), it will need to feed whole four Labs to avoid clogging (or dispose part of production). And your Oil buyer by that time should produce 8 per cycle, so you will have to dump half of your oil anyway.

But most important complication is delivering several types of items, and it is non-trivial to make a sorting system that will split all types of items to each Lab (it is exactly opposite to what a Sorter component is useful for). For two types of items one will have to build two intertwining sorting systems that join only at each Lab's entrance. Good thing is the system is much easier to build for an odd number of items - for example, 3 types of items that come in fixed order are guaranteed to be evenly split if your conveyor only has two-way branching.

Sorting for Labs
Pictured: Gas/oil/plastic line easily splits 3 types of items for Gas/Oil Labs. Iron/steel line actually feeds 2 Metals Labs each (to produce exactly 16 reports to sync with Gas/Oil), and there is twice as much Iron as Steel, so the count is essentially odd too.


This isn't optimal per lab, but it does provide for more efficient use of space so you can fit more research centers into a map (and fewer conveyors taking up space): Create your resources and then feed them into the same conveyor belt using a 3-to-1 junction so that they match proportions. Then feed both types of labs for the entire map from two belts: one for gas/oil and the other for metals.

Example of combining resources

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