A controlled heterogeneous collection of identical items is presented. According to their level of wear and tear, they are divided into a finite number of classes and the partition of the collection is allowed to change over time. A suitable exchangeability assumption is made to preserve the property that the items be identical. The role of the occupation numbers is investigated and a filtering problem is set up, where the observation is the cardinality of a particular class. A control on the dynamics of the items is introduced, and the existence of an optimal control is proved. A discrete-time approximation for the separated problem, which is a finite-dimensional one, is performed. As a consequence, an approximation for the value function is given.