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In this paper a methodology for designing and validating industrial distributed control systems is proposed. A hierarchical design, based on reusable functional components, has been used. System validation and adaptation has been achieved through a CORBA based co-simulation framework. The proposed methodology has been developed within the FLEXICON project IST-2001-37269. The main goal of the use of functional components in the design is the component reusability and their portability to other applications. On the other hand, the co-simulation framework allows incremental validation of the control system implementation. At the same time it allows control algorithms to be optimized before the system is physically implemented. The paper uses the first results of the FLEXICON project and illustrates them through an industrial case study of a beat treatment fine.