Is there a way to configure Kate to use tab spaces of more than 16 spaces? I am using Kate to make up a tab separated file for import into a database and some of the data needs about 30 spaces between tab stops.
I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of tab separated data files: they are designed for easy program import, not to be visually pleasing to humans.
Since you are importing the data into database, explore the report generation tools available to you from the database. You will have far more flexibility; for example, you can make a very long field wrap to multiple lines rather than taking up a huge chunk of horizontal space.
If this is not suitable, tabs are an archaic and inconvenient way of forming readable tables and tools like Perl (the backronymmed "Practical Extraction and Report Language") can do far better.