Every facility has a quality level (I, II or III), which is shown after the facility's name, either in its window or its icon tooltip on the main menu. That marker defines the development level of the facility: level I has a relatively bad time ratio and high cost of operation, level III quite a good time ratio and low cost of operation. Search for the most economical solution by traveling between terminals!
At present, all facilities can only handle raw materials and commodities that are located in your private storage, so you need to store required materials there for any job you want to run.
The factory is the facility of mass production. To get the assembly lines to work, the first thing you need to do is to get a calibration template that you use to program the factory's production lines. Calibration templates (CT) are created in the Reverse engineering facility.
If you already own a CT and drag&drop its icon into the previously opened factory window, a confirmation window will pop up showing the manufacturing requirements. If you click on 'ok', one of your available factory lines will be able to create the item.
Filling up a factory line does not automatically begin a production job –it simply means that the CT is installed and ready for production.
The process of production
The requirements for production are shown in the right side of the window. Potentially, you could need many varying types of ingredients, which could include commodities (made from raw materials), alien fragments, and –for more advanced equipment - a specimen of an older generation. For instance, in creating a Senner Carbine (T3) light autocannon, you'll need a Malleus (T2) light autocannon as well. This specimen will be destroyed during the manufacturing process.
In order to create more than 1 run of an item from a CT during a production cycle, you will need to install the appropriate extension.
You can also preset the number of production cycles at the start of a job. If you set 2 cycles in a row, the factory will check whether you have the required amount of material for the new cycle after the first finishes. If you do, the factory starts the second cycle. If not, the factory stops working. It is worth noting that while increasing the number of runs in on a cycle does NOT diminish the quality of a CT, running multiple cycles of the same CT in a job diminishes the quality of the CT between cycles, gradually increasing the required materials per job. (It is unlikely that simply doubling the required materials for the first cycle will work for both cycles!) For this reason, it may be advantageous to increase your runs per cycle, before increasing your cycles per job.
You have the possibility to pay for the manufacturing with your corporation's account if you're allowed to.
After you've started a manufacturing cycle, you can follow the process in the monitoring section, where you can also cancel it. Cancelling an ongoing manufacturing process will refund all your invested materials, but your calibration will suffer the same deterioration as if the job had been finished normally.
One drawback of mass production is that calibration templates deteriorate after each cycle, causing both the material and time efficiency to decline. If you think you're generating too much wastage, input a new calibration template to a new factory line to reach the original efficiencies. Note: the amount of runs in one cycle does affect the rate of the deterioration. Also, the removal of a calibration template from a factory line triggers additional damage to the CT, so removing a CT from a factory line should not be done casually!
The process of manufacturing is also strongly affected by other factors, such as your relation towards the owner of the facility, or the level of your installed industry-related extensions.
Additional parameters that affect your total efficiency.
Relation ratio - Improve this factor by reaching a good relationship with the owner of the facility.
Material ratio - You can improve the material efficiency of your factory runs with the Basic/Advanced/Expert Efficient Mass Production extensions.
Time ratio - You can improve the speed of your factory runs with the Basic/Advanced/Expert Factory Calibration extensions.
Micromanagement - You can improve the number of items run per cycle, and the number of cycles per factory job, with the Intensive Mass Production and the Programmed Mass Production extensions.