This paper presents PID and SMC control schemes on a Field Programmable Gate Array device (FPGA) for robot manipulators. The implementation of the control systems on FPGA by using optimal hardware resources is one of the challenging research areas in control engineering. To accomplish this, MATLAB Xilinx System Generator toolbox plays an important role in control design on an FPGA device. In this paper, FPGA-based PD and SMC controllers are designed by using MATLAB Xilinx System Generator tool for the chosen robot system. The tracking performances of the presented control schemes, implemented in Matlab/Simulink and implemented on FPGA, are compared. Robustness and good trajectory performance of the system on FPGA are demonstrated. (C) 2016, IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control) Hosting by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.