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This paper shows a strategy for optimal tuning of a fuzzy controller to deal with time-varying delay based on simulated annealing. The main goal is to minimize the integral time absolute error (ITAE) performance index for a drilling force control system. The proposed strategy is applied in real-time force control of a high- performance drilling process. The results demonstrate that simulated annealing provides an optimal tuning of the fuzzy controller that means less ITAE and better transient response (less overshoot).