This paper describes design and implementation of a single axis dc attraction type electromagnetic suspension system where an electromagnet of 2.6 kg mass is levitated over a large gap under a fixed ferromagnetic guide-way. The electromagnet exhibits nonlinear force-current-distance characteristics, and if controllers are to be designed by using linear analysis, the air-gap is restricted to a small region around the chosen nominal operating point. In this work, an attempt has been made to increase the operating range of an electromagnetic suspension system by using the concept of piecewise linear control where the nonlinear force-current-airgap relationships of the magnetic suspension system have been successively linearized at several operating points with a suitable controller designed for each operating point. A novel analog switching scheme has been designed and implemented to automatically switch to the relevant controller depending on the actual air-gap. © 2006 ISA - The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society.