Deadlock's Crating Machine

Adds well balanced packing and unpacking facilities to hugely boost belt throughput using crates.
9 months ago
Owner: Deadlock989
Source: N/A
License: GNU GPLv3
Created: 1 year, 26 days ago
Latest Version: 1.3.0 (9 months ago)
Factorio version: 0.16
Downloaded: 14212 times


Deadlock Technologies are pleased to provide you with schematics for heavy-duty Crating Machines, with three tiers of research required to fully utilise them. You may now pack ores, plates and other products into crates and then transport them on normal belts. Some infrastructure development on your part may be required to reap the full benefit. And bring power. Maximum power.

Each tier of crating machine can handle one fully compressed yellow, red and blue belt of raw product respectively. Belt throughput for crated items is boosted by 10x for ores, 20x for plates, and 40x for small items (i.e. depending on the raw resource's stack size), saving you space, materials and CPU time.

Don't like crates and just want raw compression? You lazy monkey. Try the incredible Deadlock Technologies Stacking Beltbox.

Modders: inter-mod support is provided so you can crate up your own mod's items easily. See the readme file inside the zip.


  • Vanilla wooden chests have been repurposed as reusable crates, using up some of your log mountain.
  • Only raw resources and some intermediate products can be packed into crates (unless another mod enabled more).
  • Filtering will be required at the unpacking end to stop crates getting into your main production lines. You will also need a reverse line on the bus to redistribute empty crates.
  • Crating machines have a high constant power drain, so make sure you scale your crating facilities according to need.
  • Packed crates don't have a higher density of resource in inventories, e.g. chests, trains. You may find crating up ores unnecessary if you move most of it around by train. Main buses of metal plates and intermediates, however, will gain a huge boost once you have the necessary supporting infrastructure.
  • Loaders are recommended, but not required: you can make this work optimally with just inserters.

Third party add-ons

Crates: the benefits and drawbacks, with maths

Without crates

Let's say you have part of a blue main bus that carries iron plates. It's 1,000 tiles long and 16 lines wide (ignoring splitters and underneathies). You push and pull plates from it with 128 stack inserters at 32 locations. Total: 16,000 blue belts, 128 stack inserters.

  • Raw material requirements: 511k iron ore, 320k lubricant, 4k copper ore, 3k petroleum, >1k coal
  • Power used to run the bus at maximum throughput: 17.0 MW
  • Power drain when bus is inactive: 0.1 MW

With crates

You now only need 0.8 blue belt lines to throughput that many iron plates, so 1 line, but you also have to move crates back and forth, so around 2,000 blue belts total and at least 7,111 crates. You also need 32 Crating Machine IIIs, 128 stack inserters and 32 fast inserters to handle crating and uncrating.

  • Raw material requirements: 99k iron ore, 41k lubricant, 11k copper ore, 6k petroleum, >1k coal, 14k logs
  • Power used to run the bus at maximum throughput: 51.2 MW
  • Power drain when bus is inactive: 16.4 MW

The resource and space savings are clear (a fifth the iron and lubricant and an eighth the space, as a trade off against a small increase in other resources plus the destruction of a medium-sized forest), but the active power requirement is tripled, and about a third of that power overhead remains no matter how active the bus is (without smart power switches).

Rationale for balance choices

Why would you choose Deadlock Technologies for your packaging needs? There are several other crating / palleting / boxing / packing / compression mods out there. But none of them floated my boat: they all have some kind of balance issue or bugs. This mod was designed to meet my own play and balance requirements.

  • We want more ways to make belts viable for satisfying end-game and post-rocket play without absolutely requiring 64-lane bus-pasta slow-motion nightmares.
  • Item compression makes the cheapest belts more powerful than the most expensive, so the process must have a significant overhead of some kind. I chose electricity and was drowning in wood anyway.
  • Crates are a vital component, obviously, just like barrels. There must be some kind of logistics puzzle. But they should be cheap, not made of strange things pulled from opposite corners of your factory.
  • You shouldn’t be able to put literally anything, e.g. 50 oil refineries, into a crate. It makes for a cluttered GUI and stretches credibility. In this mod, only raw resources and carefully chosen intermediate products are packable.
  • Some mods put whole stacks of resources into crates that can't stack, which is bad on two counts: inserters and even loaders get blocked by the assembler’s full input hopper, or by the output, or both, actually reducing throughput instead of increasing it. In others, 100x compression means that half a yellow belt becomes equivalent to 16+ blue belts: total overkill. This mod packages just 20% of the raw material’s item stack, and crates stack up to 5. This means that nothing gets backlogged but also that inventories, including trains, do not get any inventory size boost, because nothing magically got smaller and the density of items in inventories remains the same. That's completely fine and desirable, because trains and chests were already good at what they do. Only belts get the love. And bots, but that's up to you.
  • The packing/unpacking time in this mod for each specific resource is calibrated to exactly fill compressed belts of the respective tier. But the machine has to work constantly (burning power all the while) to exactly hit that optimal ratio. Some other mods randomly pull numbers out of a hat so that the machines either get jammed or are inactive half the time. This mod will also adjust properly to vanilla stack size changes from other mods, as long as those mods don't make their changes too late in the loading process.