Upgrades can be purchased at most shipyards, and come in S, M, L , and XL and XXL versions (so an S station can be upgraded to M using an M S upgrade; an M station -> L etc: hence no SXXL-rated upgrade item). Stations can only be upgraded sequentially, one tier at a time. The time taken to gather production optimisation information increases with each tier, meaning that it will take longer to unlock the ability to upgrade further. Upgrades can be applied to stations even if they are part of a complex, allowing compact, high-production complexes to be created.
To apply the upgrade kits you must first own (or hire) a TL ship. Then you can buy the upgrade kit from the shipyard your TL is docked at and deploy it onto the station that needs upgrading. You do this via the Freight bay of your TL, select the upgrade kit to deploy. This will then give a list of available factories to be upgraded, only factories that can take the upgrade kit will be displayed here. If the factory you wish to upgrade is not displayed on the list, then either its not ready for an upgrade, or you have the wrong size upgrade kit.
The upgrade kits do not require you personally to be in the same sector as the factory and TL, but the TL must be in the same sector.
You can view the production optimization and upgrade progress from the Factories Info Menu, when its ready for an upgrade, it'll also display the size of kit that is required, but generally, you need to match the current size of the station with the kit size, so an M station requires an M kit. If the factory or kit does not display a size, then it will be an S.
NOTE: The TL requires the Build Command Software MK2 installed before you can use it to upgrade a factory, NPC hired TL's should have it installed already.
Station Kits are build from the ships Freight bay of your own TL (not via the Drop Station... command).
Above shows if you dont have the Build Command Software installed, as you can see, the Upgrade option is disabled, and the menu displays the equipment that is required.
The Upgrade Station menu will display a list of factories in the current sector that can be upgraded with the current upgrade kit. Only valid factories will be displayed here. So if the factory you want to upgrade is not displayed, either the TL is not in the same sector, or your have the wrong upgrade kit, or the factory is currently not ready to be upgraded.
You can upgrade factories in complexes directly, you do not have to remove them from the complex first.
The Upgrade will take time to apply. First the upgrade will be Queued up. This will wait for the current production cycle to finish, once its finished, the factory will be disabled and the upgrading process will start.
The upgrade progress will then be displayed with the remaining time left. The factory will not produce anything while the upgrade is in progress. Once the upgrade is complete, the factory production will start again