I'm at a stage of the game (year 148, 58 kittens) where I am needing large quantities of iron. When running my smelters at max, plus my mines, I gain 1.1 coal per second and 2.5 iron per second. My auto crafter will make steel from that, effectively meaning i only get 1.4 iron per second net.
I contemplated removing steel from my auto crafter and accept that I'm earning coal that I'm not spending. It's not as efficient, but at the same time if I'm heavily delaying my observatories, ships and harbors then it maybe it's worth it.
I have about 1500 steel stockpiled. Is this going to be enough? Or should I tough it out because it's more efficient in the long run to have that steel stockpiled?