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HQ 083123

December 18, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083123 CMS


TARIFF No.: 9010.20.60, HTSUSA
7318.16.00, HTSUSA
8482.80.00, HTSUSA
8483.10.50, HTSUSA
8483.50.80, HTSUSA
9010.90.80, HTSUSA

Mr. Robert M. Fridhandler, President
Robert M. Fridhandler, Inc.
2 Sylvanus Court
Blauvelt, N.Y. 10913

RE: Parts for Printing Plate Processors

Dear Mr. Fridhandler,

You requested a ruling on the classification of certain parts of printing plate processors. The New York Seaport issued a ruling to you under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), and referred the matter to Customs Headquarters for a ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Our ruling follows.


The merchandise consists of twenty parts of an apparatus which develops presensitized and exposed aluminum printing plates. The apparatus is housed in a structure approximately 30" long, 24" wide and 16" high. The aluminum plates are transported through the apparatus by a series of cylindrical rollers which are powered by a belt and gear system.

The names given to the parts by the importer, and a description for the parts derived from the diagrams provided by the importer are as follows:
roller core (long): steel cylinder 21.39" long and .5" in diameter; approximately 1" of each end is of lesser diameter and extreme ends are tapered at 45 degree angle; center of core of each end is drilled approximately 1/8" deep; two holes are drilled into surface of cylinder;
roller core (short): same as "roller core (long)" but 19.248" long and one hole drilled into surface;
bearing for brush drive: plastic sleeve type bearing .5" long with .502" outer diameter (3.765" inner diameter);
brush for drive shaft: steel cylinder 3.312" long and .3750" in diameter; each end is tapered;
roller shaft drive: steel cylinder 22.25" long and .375" in diameter; one hole is drilled into surface of shaft near one end; each end is tapered;
idler T-belt: steel wheel .75" long with 1" outside diameter (.376 inner diameter);
tie-bar: steel cylinder 20" long and 3/8" in diameter; center of core of each end is drilled approximately .5" deep;
roller bearing: plastic roller bearing .5" long; rim of one end is .75" in diameter and remainder of length is .624" in diameter;
brush core: similar to "roller core (long)", but 18.988" long and .625" in diameter;
collar for brush shaft: metal sleeve 1" long with .5" outer diameter and .376" inner diameter; ends are tapered and hole is drilled through one wall of sleeve;
eccentric nut: steel nut having the appearance of a ring .375" in diamete83123r with a .5" hexagonal nut fused onto one end; off center hole is drilled through core of nut;
roller for upper deflector: plastic cylinder 18.125" long and 5/8" in diameter; ends are tapered and holes are drilled into center of core of each end approximately 9/16" deep;
stud for roller drive gear, stud for T-belt idler, hub for brush drive, stud for deflector roller, roller for drive gear, stud for roller for drive gear, stud for brush arm, stud for idler pivot: steel connectors or other fittings ranging in length from .263" to 1.687"; ends of the articles are tapered at 45 degree angle, have holes drilled into center of core, or are otherwise worked to accommodate a connection to another article; each article except "stud for deflector
roller" has a range of diameters due to their having cylindrical sections of varying sizes, grooves cut 360 degrees around article, the outer rim of a disc encircling the article, or a hexagonal nut-like article attached to the end of the item; one end of "stud for deflector roller" is grooved laterally in "straight knurl" design;


Under which of the following headings is the merchandise properly classified:

1) as "parts of general use", under headings 7307, 7312, 7315, 7317 or 7318, HTSUSA;

2) 8442, HTSUSA, covering parts of machines which prepare printing plates;

3) 9009, HTSUSA, covering parts of photocopying apparatus; or

4) 9010, HTSUSA, covering parts of apparatus used in photographic laboratories.


The merchandise does not comprise an incomplete or unassembled article pursuant to General Interpretive Rule 2(a). The merchandise does not include any of the parts which form the external housing, the majority of the parts which form the internal structural support, or any of the belts and gears. If the instant parts could be assembled in some fashion without additional parts, the "assembled" article would not have the essential character of the complete or finished printing plate processor.

In order to determine which section and chapter notes are relevant in the classification of the parts, the classification for the finished article must be determined.

Classification of Developer

Heading 8442 describes parts for machines which prepare printing plates. However, presensitized printing plates, and apparatus which develop them are excluded from the types of
plates and apparatus covered under 8442, HTSUSA. The HTSUSA Explanatory Notes to Heading 8442, p. 1235, provide:

Sensitized plates (e.g. consisting of metal or plastics, coated with a sensitized photographic emulsion...) are excluded (heading 37.01). (emphasis in original)

Heading 3701 covers photographic printing plates and by its own language indicates that the sensitized plates are used in a photographic process.

Likewise, the Explanatory Notes to heading 8442 at p. 1237 exclude from heading 8442 photographic equipment(i.e. cameras, enlargers and reducers, contact printers) and "...similar photographic apparatus for preparing printing plates or cylinders (Chapter 90)..." (emphasis in original). Although HTSUSA Explanatory Notes are not dispositive, they should be looked to for guidance in properly interpreting the HTSUSA. (See p. 54, Fed. Reg. 35128, 8/23/89).

The importer's June 3, 1988 correspondence indicates that the pre-developed plates have been "exposed". Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, p. 479, defines "expose" in pertinent part as:
to subject (a sensitized film or plate) to radiation having a photochemical effect

Webster's, p. 1017, defines "photography" as:
the art or process of producing images of objects upon a photosensitive surface (as film in a camera) by the chemical action of light or other radiant energy

Chapter 90, HTSUSA generally encompasses photographic apparatus and parts. Heading 9006 would include cameras which photographically prepare printing plates; Heading 9009 would include apparatus which prepare printing plates by a photocopying process; and Heading 9010 would include photographic laboratory equipment. Although the Explanatory Notes to 9009, HTSUSA do not specifically refer to apparatus which process printing plates, the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9006, p. 1467, provide:

Apparatus for preparing printing plates or cylinders by a photocopying or thermocopying process are excluded from this heading and fall in heading 90.09. (emphasis in original)

Heading 9006 covers cameras incorporating automatic developers, but does not describe any separate developing
apparatus which process plates after they have been exposed photographically. There is no classification in Chapter 90 which provides for other photographic apparatus in its heading (except 9013, which provides for "other optical appliances"; the instant apparatus does not contain an optical system). Thus, it would appear that the developing apparatus would be classified in either Heading 9009 or 9010.

Apparatus for the developing of printing plates are not specifically described in the Headings or Explanatory Notes to 9009 and 9010, HTSUSA. It is thus necessary to analyze similar apparatus which are specifically described.

The instant developing apparatus processes plates which have been imaged in a frame printer using the contact method. Contact type photocopying apparatus both incorporating and not incorporating automatic developers are described in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9009, p. 1472. However, the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9009 give no express guidance as to where separate developers might be classified.

The examples of contact type photocopying apparatus described in The Explanatory Notes to 9009, HTSUSA, include diazocopiers and blueprinters. While neither diazocopiers nor blueprinters process printing plates, it is helpful to analyze their functions, and the processes used to develop the materials they expose. The McGraw Hill Encyclopedia Of Science And Technology, Sixth Ed., Vol. 10, p. 387, describes the diazocopying process as follows:

A positive transparent paper or film master containing an opaque image is placed in contact with a light-sensitive coated paper or film and exposed to ultraviolet light, neutralizing the coating except where hidden by the master's image. The copy is then passed through ammonia fumes for development, turning the image black. (emphasis supplied)

Listed as a specific example of "[s]pecialised equipment used in reproduction work" in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9010, p. 1474, are "apparatus for developing specially sensitized paper by the ammonia vapor process." (emphasis supplied)

Thus, there is one specific example of the classification under 9010, HTSUSA of a separate apparatus which develops material which has been exposed by a contact type printing apparatus classified under 9009, HTSUSA. (Non-photocopying type contact printers are classified under 9010, HTSUSA; separate developers for these printers would presumably also be classified in 9010, HTSUSA).

An analysis of a blueprinter yields a similar finding. The McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science And Technology, p.387, provides:

Blueprinting. The master and exposure requirements are similar to those used with the diazo process. The light sensitive coating is an iron compound which, after exposure, is washed and fixed in a chemical bath turning deep blue. The unexposed coating behind the master's image is washed away, and the duplicate image becomes white. (emphasis in original)

Although a tank or tray specifically used for washing and fixing an exposed blueprint is not specifically listed in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9010, general types of such photographic apparatus are listed (i.e. special film developing tanks, special trays, and tanks for washing negatives).

The materials developed or otherwise processed by apparatus classified in Heading 9010 are not limited to film (e.g. diazocopier and blueprinting paper, and silicon slices onto which circuit patterns are projected). Further, the language in Heading 9010 describing only photographic laboratory equipment does not restrict the classification of the instant merchandise there. Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, p. 1379, defines "laboratory" in pertinent part as:

...a place devoted to...the application of scientific principles...or in the preparation on a small scale of drugs, chemicals, explosives, etc.;...by extension, a place where something is prepared or some operation is performed.

Although the word "laboratory" does limit Heading 9010 to some extent, it is sufficiently broad to encompass the instant developing apparatus. Further, apparatus which perform similar functions are classified in Heading 9010.

The developing apparatus assembled with the instant parts is classifiable as "other" photographic laboratory apparatus in 9010.20.60, HTSUSA.

Classification of Parts

The Notes to Chapter 90 include two relevant provisions regarding parts of machines classifiable in Chapter 90. Chapter Note 1(e) excludes from classification in Chapter 90 "parts of general use" as defined in Note 2 to Section XV (and similar articles of plastic, Chapter 39). Chapter 90 Note 2(a) excludes
from classification in Chapter 90 parts which are goods included in Chapters 84 or 85 (except headings 8485 and 8548).

Articles classifiable under 7318, HTSUSA are parts of general use as defined in Note 2 to Section XV. Heading 7318 contains an "eo nomine" provision for "nuts". Although the imported eccentric nut is a specialized article in that its core is drilled off center and it has both a hexagonal and cylindrical shape, it is nevertheless classified in 7318.16.00, HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes to Section XV, p. 973, Part C, provide that parts described by Heading 7318 are classified there regardless of their "specialized" nature.

None of the other imported articles are classified as "parts of general use". The imported studs are not the type of stud covered under Heading 7318; the Explanatory Notes to Heading 7318, p. 1028, describes screw studs and screw studding which are threaded at both ends or throughout. The imported studs are also not classified as fittings or connectors for tubes or pipes under Heading 7307 (also a provision for "parts of general use"). None of the articles which they connect or to which they fit are described as tubes or pipes in Chapter 73; to the extent that any of such articles might be hollow, they are more than the "hollow profiles" described in Chapter 73, and thus their fittings or connectors would not be classified in Chapter 73.

Heading 8482 covers ball or roller bearings. The bearing for brush drive and roller bearing are classified in Heading 8482.80.00.

Heading 8483 describes transmission shafts. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 8483, p. 1325, describe main or drive shafts which are driven directly by a motor, and counter shafts which are coupled to the main shaft and transmit power to other parts of the machine. The imported roller shaft drive is the longest of the imported shafts and cylinders. The longest shaft indicated in the importer's diagrams is a main drive shaft which transmits power through a gear and belt system. The roller shaft drive is classified in 8483.10.50, HTSUSA.

The roller cores (long and short), and brush core appear to function more like axles than counter shafts. Although they are connected to the main shaft through belts and gears, they are the "end use" parts to which power is transmitted and do not themselves transmit power to other parts of the machine. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 8483, p. 1326, exclude axles from classification in Heading 8483.

The idler T-belt is classifiable in Heading 8483. The importer's diagrams indicate that this part presses against the transmission belt and provides tension. The Explanatory Notes to

Heading 8483, p. 1327 indicate that idlers which regulate tension of drive belts are described as "free pulleys" classified under Heading 8483. The idler T-belt is classified in 8483.50.80, HTSUSA.

None of the remaining imported items are classified in Chapters 84 or 85, except for heading 8485 which includes parts of machinery not provided for elsewhere in Chapter 84. Chapter 90 Note 2(a) excludes Heading 8485 from the headings which take precedence over Chapter 90 headings.

Chapter 90 Note 2(b) provides that parts which are suitable for use solely or principally with Chapter 90 apparatus are classified as "parts" of such apparatus. The remaining parts are at least suitable for use principally with the printing plate processors to which they are ultimately attached. The parts' lengths, diameters, taperings and other worked features render them ideally suitable for use with printing plate processors. Although their use with other machines might be possible, any such use would be a fugitive use not precluding their classification in 9010.90.80, HTSUSA.


The eccentric nut is classified in 7318.16.00, HTSUSA. The bearing for brush drive and roller bearing are classified in 8482.80.00, HTSUSA. The roller shaft drive is classified in 8483.10.50, HTSUSA. The idler T-belt is classified in 8483.50.80. The roller cores(long and short), brush for drive shaft, stud for roller drive gear, tie bar, stud for T-belt idler, hub for brush drive, brush core, collar for brush shaft, roller for upper deflector, stud for deflector roller, roller for drive gear, stud for roller for drive gear, stud for brush arm and stud for idler pivot are classified in 9010.90.80.


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