IEC 61499 projects


Human-mimetic approach to the integrated monitoring, management and optimization of a symbiotic cluster of smart production units


Improvements of the overall sustainability of process industries from an economic, environmental and social point of view require the adoption of a new industrial symbiosis paradigm - the human-mimetic symbiosis - where critical resources (materials, energy, waste and by-products) are coordinated among multiple autonomous Production Units organized in industrial clusters.

SYMBIOPTIMA will improve European process industry efficiency levels by:
(a) developing a cross-sectorial energy & resource management platform for intra- and inter-cluster streams, characterized by a holistic model for the definition, life-cycle assessment and business management of a human-mimetic symbiotic cluster. The platform multilayer architecture integrates process optimization and demand response strategies for the synergetic optimization of energy and resources within the sectors and across value chains;
(b) developing extensive, multi-disciplinary, modular and “plug&play” monitoring and elaboration of all relevant information flows of the symbiotic cluster;
(c) integrating all thermal energy sources, flows and sinks of the cluster into a systemic unified vision, as nodes of smart thermal energy grid;
(d) taking into account disruptive increase of cross-sectorial re-use for particularly impacting waste streams, proposing advanced WASTE2RESOURCE initiatives for PET.

The development of such a holistic framework will pave the way for future cross-sectorial interactions and potentialities. Furthermore, the adoption of available LCSA and interoperability standards will grant easy upgradability of legacy devices and a large adoption by device producers. Modularity, extendibility and upgradability of all developed tools will improve scalability and make the SYMBIOPTIMA approach suitable both at small and large scale.


SYMBIOPTIMA promotes the mutual interaction of diverse cross-sectorial industries for beneficial reuse of flows that could result in a more resource-efficient production at network level, and in fewer adverse environmental impacts. This is achieved thanks to six concurrent objectives:
  1. Cross-sectorial energy and resource management of intra- and inter-cluster streams.
    Open collaboration between companies of a Cluster is enabled by eliminating existing barriers in the sharing, access, analysis and elaboration of all relevant information
  2. Development of a holistic model for the definition, LCA and business management of a symbiotic cluster.
    SYMBIOPTIMA will propose the process industries a new functional model, through the definition of a holistic perspective of the sustainability oriented industrial symbiosis.
  3. Multi-level synergetic optimization of energy and resources flows within the sectors and across value chains.
    SYMBIOPTIMA will exploit the new potentialities offered by a shared understanding of the cluster behaviour to optimize its composing Production Units, taking into account the distribution of decision making power within the cluster.
  4. Extensive, multi-disciplinary, modular and “plug&play” monitoring and elaboration of all relevant information flows of the symbiotic cluster.
    SYMBIOPTIMA will focus on the achievement of a complete plug&play solution, coherent with the distributed nature of the network, to manage smart monitoring and elaboration of data.
  5. Integration of all thermal energy sources, flows and sinks of the cluster into a systemic unified vision.
    The project will achieve a more integrated vision of the network of thermal nodes of the cluster.
  6. Disruptive increase of cross-sectorial re-use for particularly impacting waste streams.
    SYMBIOPTIMA last objective focused on plastics waste-stream treatment as one of the most impacting within the addressed application sector to pave the way towards effective cross-sectorial industrial symbiosis.


Main results are:
  1. Integrated software platform for cluster-level management of symbiotic energy and resources streams.
  2. Life-cycle sustainability assessment framework for the human-mimetic symbiotic cluster.
  3. Platform plug-ins for integrated process optimization and demand response.
  4. HW/SW Middleware for development of cross-sectorial smart monitoring.
  5. Energy Grid application framework.
  6. De-polymerization reactor for chemical PET recycling.

IEC 61499

In order to support the extension (upgrade) of the monitoring and supervisory control of an industrial cluster, the exploitation of wireless technology and IEC-61499 standard is a key element providing a flexible, scalable and industrial grade solution. The choice to build up the SYMBIOPTIMA technological framework for monitoring and control on the IEC-61499 standard results from the needs expressed by the industry in terms of flexibility and effectiveness when it comes to develop, configure and upgrade a specific monitoring and supervisory control application with standardised and robust solutions.

The project monitoring and supervision middleware has been designed in order to support completely the open and interoperable IEC-61499 and IEC-61850 (smart grid) standard, guaranteeing their future-proof acceptance by the market. In addition, extensions of the IEC-61499 standard have been specifically designed to improve the level of auto-configurability of the middleware runtime.


Partner Role in the project
Project coordination; definition of functional requirements and enabling technologies regarding energy recovery systems; responsible of realization of energy harvesting wireless devices; support to the development of Smart Thermal energy grid; coordination of demonstration activities, with particular reference to Spirax lab-scale test facility.
Project scientific coordination; responsible for the definition of semantic web based data model and RDF store; responsible for the definition and integration of LCSA methodologies; contribution to design of multilayer optimization architecture; responsible for the development of methods and tools supporting cross-sectorial flows optimization, energy-aware P&S and contribution to SCM tools; responsible for the implementation of the Distributed MPC for optimal execution of the smart thermal grid.
Responsible for the realization of the interoperability middleware; contribution to the realization of distributed run-time framework integrating wireless technology; implementation of the intelligent management of the Energy Harvesting wireless Devices network; responsible for the realization of the energy grid DSS; design and development of depolymerisation prototype reactor; coordination of project exploitation activities.
Responsible for the development of software tools supporting Supply Chain Management extending Industrial Symbiosis; contribution to the software development of the energy-aware Planning and Scheduling component; development of the utilities to support the definition of the decomposed optimization problem.
Siemens AG is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for enegineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. Siemens italy, with more than 3'400 employees, has factories, global competence centers and R&D centers of worldwide excellence.
Responsible of the development of the distributed run-time framework for real-time control and monitoring of heterogeneous smart nodes; responsible for the integration of the Interoperable framework for distributed smart monitoring to the ERMS; support to the implementation of the smart thermal grid distributed control system.
Responsible for the development of the wireless architecture to enable interoperable and safe smart monitoring; support to the definition and integration of the wireless technology in the communication layer for ensuring a reliable distributed control deployment.
Responsible for the realization of the De-polymerization processes for enhanced PET symbiosis; main support on the chemical aspects (compositional and analytical) of the reactive mixture; responsible for the Development of the protective layer and deposition station.
Responsible for the integration of simulation facilities within the ERMS platform; responsible of overall development and integration of the tool supporting implementation of LCSA indicators and objectives.
Responsible of development of self-learning techniques and their integration within the platform; leader for the study and development of business models fostering industrial symbiosis; responsible for the implementation of multi-objective optimization based in Matheuristic; coordination of dissemination activities.
Responsible for the detailed design of the multi-layer optimization architecture; responsible of the implementation of Demand response strategies; contribution to the development of the self-learning algorithms and multi-objective optimization.
Responsible for the measurement activities and characterization of electric properties of the mixture, responsible for the Identification of the optimized microwave applicator; design of the microwave cavity and support to integration.
Responsible for the digital tool connector implementation; contribution to the development of the virtual repository; contribution to the implementation of Virtual data manager; responsible for the integration of Virtual repository, data manager and connectors within the ERMS.
Contribution to the definition of project requirements; coordination of validation scenario definition; coordination of the validation activities on end-user plant, achievement of quantitative results, performance comparison.
SCM will play the role of a main Production Unit for a hybrid industrial-civil industrial symbiosis, allowing to demonstrate the interaction between internal production planning and external optimization of energy provision and waste re-use. In particular, SCM will sustain the following demonstration activities:
  • Integration of the internal ICT infrastructure with the PU-level tools of the ERMS;
  • Modelling and optimization of the production planning under the energy and resource-related KPIs and constraints;
  • Inclusion of waste heat recovery aspects for district heating as part of the management degrees of freedom;
  • Simulated multi-level integration between plant planning and network-level energy supply;
  • Proof-of-concept integration of SCM tools with re-users of identified foundry’s waste materials.
SGR will represent the prototypical “auxiliary facilities manager” company of a symbiotic cluster, where feeding flows such electricity, gas, thermal energy, etc. are distributed among multiple production units, satisfying the composed consumption patterns in an overall optimal way.

In particular, during the validation and demonstrating activities, SGR will focus on the following aspects:

  • ICT interfacing with the cluster-side tools of the ERMS;
  • Apply optimization techniques over the demand-side management of the multiple companies it feeds;
  • Provide a multi-level scenario about energy provision/recovery from the SCM use-case.


Project coordinator:
Andrew Marshall - SPIRAX-SARCO Limited -

Project scientific coordinator:
Andrea Ballarino - ITIA-CNR -

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