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The design and application of an adaptive fuzzy total sliding-mode controller (AFTSC) are addressed in this paper. The proposed control scheme comprises a special fuzzy sliding-mode controller and an adaptive tuner. The former is a main controller, which is designed without reaching phase to retain the merits of a total sliding-mode control approach. Furthermore, a translation width is embedded into the fuzzy inference engine to remedy the chattering phenomena. The adaptive tuner is utilized to adjust the translation width on-line for further assuring robust and optimal performance. To verify the effectiveness, the proposed control scheme is applied to control the tension of a winding process. The computer-controlled winding system includes an electrical servo driven windup reel, a geared speed reducer and a set of pinch rolls. The winding process with the control method possesses the advantages of simple control framework, free from chattering, stable performance and robust to uncertainties. The advantages are indicated in comparison with traditional proportional-integral (PI) control scheme.