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This paper presents a new methodology for designing and implementing position control for permanent-magnet linear synchronous motor (PMLSM) systems. We utilize both a new function-based sliding-mode control (SMC) method and direct thrust control (DTC). It has been established that chattering is a problem in conventional SMC and stems from discontinuous control. However, the new function-based controller allows designers to employ fuzzy membership functions directly. The advantage of the proposed method is that the chattering phenomenon can be reduced and/or completely eliminated. The design of the control method for the proposed system can be performed without the need for great expertise as it does not require the use of very complicated techniques. It should be noted that we have managed to control the inherent flux linkage problems associated with PMLSMs. To our knowledge, this is the first work that combines the new SMC with DTC techniques in order to create a position control for a real-world PMLSM. Simulation and experimental results verify that the proposed method can achieve favorable control performance with regard to parameter variations and external disturbances.