In, this study, a sliding mode control system with a proportional + integral + derivative (PID) sliding surface is adopted to control the speed of an electromechanical plant. A robust sliding mode controller is derived so that the actual trajectory tracks the desired trajectory despite uncertainty, nonlinear dynamics, and external disturbances. The proposed sliding mode controller is chosen to ensure the stability of overall dynamics during the reaching phase and sliding phase. The stability of the system is guaranteed in the sense of the Lyapunov stability theorem. The chattering problem is overcome using a hyperbolic function for the sliding surface. Experimental results that are compared with the results of conventional PID verify that the proposed sliding mode controller can achieve favorable tracking performance, and it is robust with regard to uncertainties and disturbances. (c) 2006 ISA-The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society.