The Refinery is one of the most complicated production buildings in the game. This Satisfactory Refinery setup will guide you into making it more efficient with space and production.
How to Unlock the Refinery
It is unlocked by finishing the Oil Processing milestone at the HUB. The milestone will be available once you have reached Tier 5 through the Space Elevator. It will need 50 Motor, 100 Encased Industrial Beam, 500 Steel Pipe and 500 Copper Sheet.
It is best to have all these products automated at a high production rate especially for the Copper Sheet.
What Is the Refinery Used For?
The Refinery is used for multiple products involving tier 5 and above. The most notable use for the Refinery is making the fastest conveyor belt in the game by producing Aluminum Scrap to make the Alclad Aluminum Sheet.
It is also used to turn Crude Oil into Fuel which can be used by fuel generators for a reliable power source or fuel for gadgets and vehicles when packaged.
Two other important products from a Refinery will be the Plastic and Rubber. These two will be needed in large quantities especially with the delivery requirement for the Space Elevator as you progress up to tier 7.
The Refinery can also pack almost any kind of liquid in the game. It is also used to unpack the same containers, and then have the container it was packed with become a byproduct.
How to Set up the Refinery
The Refinery is unique because it has 2 different inputs and 2 different outputs. It has one input and output that is fluid based and another input and output that is solid based. You do not need to use all of them and it will depend on what the Refinery will be producing.
Once you have a desired product in mind, you can adjust accordingly with the space you need for it. For example, creating Plastic will only require a single input which will be the Crude Oil. The tiny icon that is shown on the product recipe will be the a byproduct. This means that the Refinery producing the plastic will have an output of Plastic and the byproduct which is Heavy Oil Residue.
This byproduct is fluid based and will require a pipeline output on the Refinery. The icon is easily distinguishable if it is a fluid because of the cylindrical shape. The one thing to note about the Refinery is that if any product becomes clogged, it stops both output productions.
Make sure that both outputs have enough storage especially the fluids. Use a Fluid Buffer for the fluid output if you are still unable to make it purely self-sufficient. You can also underclock it but you would sacrifice the production rate until you fix it again.
For the non-fluid output, you can use the Awesome Sink if you have no use for them yet.
Satisfactory Refinery Tips & Tricks
Layer your outputs
Getting your basic setup for the Refinery up and running at perfect efficiency or 100% clockspeed can be hard because of the space it requires. Since most products produced by the Refinery can have two outputs, it can be hard to attach conveyor splitters and mergers along with the belts and the pipelines.
Here is a trick you can do with your pipeline outputs or any pipeline requiring space. You can layer your pipeline a little above the height of a conveyor splitter or merger as is shown in the video. This prevents your conveyor belts from clashing with your pipelines when you decide to expand your production.
Keep in mind that if you incline your pipeline too much, the output will get clogged as fluids cannot go up unless pumped with a Pipeline Pump. This angle shown with the pipeline layout is just enough that it does not get clogged by the incline and does not need a pump to get the flow rate up.
Manage your flow rates
A single pipeline coverage can only handle as much as 300 cubic meters. This means that you are only limited to that much of a particular fluid in a pipeline connection within your production facility.
This means that you cannot extend as far as you might want from where you are extracting your Crude Oil. The bright side is that almost every Crude Oil node in the map will be near a water source. It is best to build your production facility involving Refineries near these areas.
While it is possible to bring packaged oil and have another Refinery near your base to unpack them, it is easier to create the production facility near the Crude Oil. Even if some materials such as Raw Quartz, Copper Ore and Bauxite are far from the Crude Oil nodes, it is best to bring them closer instead of taking the Crude Oil somewhere else.
You should also take note of what kind of Crude Oil you are extracting. A pure Crude Oil node will net you 240 cubic meters of oil per minute. By following the max flow rate rule in a pipeline, you cannot extend this as much as you would want.
You would want to use this pure node for products that are heavy on Crude Oil. They are most likely going to be for Fuel and the alternative recipe for producing Polymer Resin. They both need 60 cubic meters per minute.
Put more emphasis on using these pure nodes on Fuel because it will most likely be your main power source for the base. Running out of Fuel for this power source will require you to jump start it to keep it running again so make sure that you have an overflow for the Fuel.
When in doubt, use the Awesome Sink
Byproducts can be hard to deal with. If you do not have the capacity to keep up with your 100% clockspeed production, you can always use a Smart Splitter and have the overflow sent directly to an Awesome Sink.
Fluid overflows are harder to solve because they can only be sunk once they are packaged with an Empty Canister. Producing these canisters will create another cycle of byproducts because it will need a production of Plastic which also produces Heavy Oil Residue.
It is best to keep track of the fluid output and make it 100% efficient. You can overlock refineries to have them running at 100% efficiency.
My priorities when playing the game were to have everything running efficiently first before fixing the layout. This means doing calculations first before designing layouts. My goal is to have a main base, with every end product being transferred to it without any production facilities near it as well.
There are ways you can make everything explained even better and it will all depend on your preference. Whether you would like everything running smoothly or having it look aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, it all depends on your end goal.