The tape transport servo controls the velocity of the tape during read, write and seek operations as well as the tension applied to the tape. Increasing data rate requirements necessitate the use of higher tape transport velocities. At the same time, data rate matching also imposes the requirement of reliable operation at very low tape velocities.
Another challenge in the area of tape transport servo arises from the continual reduction in tape thickness, which renders the tape more fragile and hence more sensitive to tension variations. In order to address these challenges we are developing a new tape transport servo system using state space based techniques as well as investigating methods to improve the performance of the brushless motors used in the tape transport system.