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HQ 085069

November 8, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085069 AJS


TARIFF NO: 9017.20.80; 9009.21.00

Mr. Fred Long
V.P. Marketing
Mivatec Inc.
30 Wertheim Court
Suite 4
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Canada L4B 1B9

RE: Photoplotter

Dear Mr. Long:

Your letter of July 4, 1989, requests this office to reconsider ruling letter HQ 083635, which classified a photo- plotter as a drawing instrument within subheading 9017.20.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).

Your letter states our perception that the "MIVA 25 Photoplotter rasterizes vector data which controls a Laser beam" is incorrect. Instead, you claim that the article in question projects its image through a standard camera lens from light emitted by a very small CRT. You also argue that the machine does not do any measuring or calculating like drafting tables, calculators, or slide rulers. Lastly, you state that the photoplotter simply produces a copy of a drawing from a picture displayed on a CRT.

The literature originally submitted described the MIVA 25 as an important constituent of any computer automated drafting (CAD) system. A CAD system requires a number of special pieces of equipment, one of which is a photoplotter. A photoplotter is described as the device which actually draws finished artwork.

Raymond H. Clark, Handbook of Printed Circuit Manufacturing, pg. 17 (1985). It accomplishes this by using a light beam to make marks on a piece of photographic film. The photoplotter moves the light beam around the film on a mechanical arm, to draw the artwork directly onto the film. The film is then developed to produce the finished artwork. Most photoplotters get their data directly from a computer tape. The tape is mounted on the photoplotter with the film, the "start" button is pushed, the photoplotter reads the tape, and then draws the artwork. This type of device would clearly be a type of drawing instrument.

In the Compendium of Classification Opinions, Brussels First Edition (1987), a CAD system was classified within heading 9017, as a system for the control of drafting instruments. A plotter was also listed as one of the components of a CAD system. As stated previously, the MIVA 25 is an important constituent component of any CAD system. It also is a plotter which produces drawings. Accordingly, the photoplotter in question can be classified within heading 9017.

Heading 9017 provides for drawing, marking-out or mathematical calculating instruments. Your letter claims that a photoplotter cannot be classified within heading 9017 because it is a machine which does not perform any measuring or calculating like drafting tables, calculators, or slide rulers. However, the legal notes to heading 9017 do not support this claim. Basically, a photoplotter draws artwork and can therefore be considered a drawing instrument within subheading 9017.20.80, HTSUSA. The fact that an article does not measure or calculate will not, by itself, exclude an article from heading 9017. Your claim that the MIVA 25 projects an image through a lens from light emitted by CRT, instead of rasterizing vector data which controls a laser beam does not change this classification. What is important is the fact that photoplotters perform a drawing function.

You raise the question of whether the articles are photocopiers within the meaning of heading 9009. Photocopiers are normally direct input units in which paper is fed manually or automatically into the machine. They do not require computer direction. Heading 9009 provides for photocopying apparatus incorporating an optical system. These devices project the optical image of an original document on to a light-sensitive surface, and contain components for the developing and printing of the image. Explanatory Notes (EN) 90.09(A). The MIVA 25 does not meet this requirement. Therefore, the article in question is not classifiable within subheading 9009.21.00, HTSUSA.

Upon reconsideration we must conclude that the articles in question are classifiable within subheading 9017.20.80, HTSUSA, as other drawing instruments.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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