Clean, inspect and recycle your 3480, 3490, and 3490e tape cartridges

3491e Magnetic Cartridge Inspector/Cleaner

The Hi-Tech 3480/3490 Inspector Cleaner is a vacuum buffered tape processor that cleans, retensions and optically inspects all 3480, 3490 and 3490e magnetic tape cartridges. This unique machine is the only product currently available in the market to inspect your tape cartridge library and eliminate faulty cartridges without affecting any of the data on any of the tape.

Data cartridges, like all magnetic media, require periodic cleaning and retensioning. Surface debris and dirt will interfere with proper head/tape contact. The
Hi-Tech 3480/3490 Inspector Cleaner thoroughly cleans and retensions tape. The machine accepts all half-inch data cartridges which conform to IBM publication GA 32-0048.

The machine can be rented for $2,995.00 per month, and remanufactured models are available for $14,995.00. The optional physical defect detector can be included at a cost of $1,000.00. A one year on-site maintenance contract is available at a cost of $4,900.00 per year. A one-year maintenance contract for depot repair is available at a cost of $3,500.00 per year.

Cleaning Method

The cleaning method of the machine uses a vacuum-assisted gemstone cleaning blade to remove contamination from the oxide surface of the tape. Each blade is good for 2,000 passes (less for extended length tape cartridges). The machine automatically indicates when the blade requires changing. Two cleaning tissues are used to remove contamination from both sides of the tape, and the machine automatically indicates when the tissue cartridges require changing.

Retensioning Method

The machine drive design incorporates hydrostatic air bearings to minimize tape contact and friction. It uses microprocessor controlled tension transducers to provide accurate winding and tensioning. Air filters and ionizers are included to purify the environment and eliminate static. The microprocessors automatically set tension per ANSI standards for each type of tape cartridge.

Autoload - ten cartridge magazine

The machine is fast enough to clean ten (10) tapes unattended in less than half an hour. Cartridges are housed in a removable ten cartridge magazine which is placed in the loading mechanism for processing. Each cartridge is then automatically positioned, loaded and unloaded sequentially. The machine comes with one magazine, but a second magazine can be purchased to permit the operator to load the magazine while the first one is in the machine being processed.

Optical Scanner - detects oxide voids .0025 inches or larger

This optional feature provides detection and recording of any physical tape imperfection. It must be ordered with the machine order, and the cost of the optical defect detector is $1,000.00. Wrinkles, edge stretches, oxide voids, shedding oxide, or any anomaly on the oxide surface .0025 inches or larger are detected. There is no additional cost for this important feature. The data on the tape is not destroyed and the tape itself remains unharmed. The user can eliminate all problem tapes prior to mounting them on the drive. The machine incorporates programmable short tape detection and features automatic error recovery. There is an additional cost of $995.00 for non-standard power of 220-240 VAC; 50 HZ.


  • Fast and fully automatic operation
  • Vacuum-assisted blade cleaning
  • Dual-tissue cleaning
  • Visual display indicated need for blade and tissue replacement
  • 16 character operator display
  • Easily changed blade and tissues
  • Fast enough to clean ten tapes in under half an hour
  • Programmable short tape detection
  • Automatic tape retensioning
  • Air-bearing drive
  • Microprocessor controlled
  • Static eliminator


  • Corporate Data Processing Departments
  • Large end users
  • Government
  • Military
  • Data Processing Departments
  • Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Media Reprocessors
  • Media Archive Organizations 

Media Cleaned:

  • 3480 cartridges
  • 3490 cartridges
  • 3490e cartridges

3480/3490 Autoloading Inspector Cleaner
Physical Defect Detector Optional

Purchase Price $19,995.00
Rental Price $2,995.00
Process Time 1.9 minutes
per cartridge
Throughput 20 per hour
Drive Speed 118.2 ips

Dimensions With Autoloader


19 inches

483 mm


29 inches

736 mm


8 inches

203 mm


80 lbs

36.4 kg


115 VAC; 60Hz
220 VAC; 50Hz
100 VAC; 50/60 Hz
2 amps

Please note that commercial shipping in the contiguous United States will be an additional charge. As international shipping and non-contiguous domestic shipping rates vary, we will provide a quote for your location upon receipt of your order.

Price: $19,995.00Sale price: $13,995.00
Warranty and Maintenance