Idea of separated complexes:
One problem of an all-in-one complex
The most self-supplying complex models in X3 The Threat are fixed on building one huge complex, where all intermediate and final products are thrown together. But in this constellation you have one problem: if you want to sell intermediate products to AI ships and stations, you can't control how much wares can be sold without breaking the self-supplying cycle.
Example 1, simple closed cycle complex
This example complex is self-supplying and overproducing some wares, like the Meatsteak Cahoonas which you would like to sell. But if suddenly all Meatsteak Cahoonas are sold, the cycle will collapse and the complex will start blinking yellow - it's a very unstable cycle and frustrating to watch.
Separate the complex
So what to do, to be able to sell an intermediate product without breaking the cycle? Simple, just separate the complex and produce the intermediate product in an another complex as a final product. In this way you can sell as much as you want and no station will complain about low resource, because it's not intermediate anymore.
the 1st "supplying complex": closed cycle, only ECell as overproduction, no trading with AI
the 2nd "consuming complex": consuming ECells, Meatsteak Cahoonas as final product for sale
Of course the 2nd complex shouldn't require more ECells than as overproduced in the 1st complex. For the transport of ECells, just use a TS with Commodity Logistics Software (CLS) MK1: assign the 1st complex as homebase, add the 2nd complex as additional station for CLS, add ECell as ware to transport and start the internal CLS.
In this rock-stable constellation, you can sell as many Meatsteak Cahoonas as you want to AI ships without breaking any cycle.
Of course this is just a simple example, there are many possibilities how to use this model:
- attach a Teladianium Foundry to the 2nd complex for an additional ware
- overproduce Crystals in the 1st complex and supply a Solar Power Plant
- supply any single silicon/ore mine with the overproduced ECells
Example 3, a real in-game setup:
You'll need more precise calculations to plan such complexes than for a single one. But trust me, it's definitely worth doing that.