United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1991 HQ Rulings > HQ 0086429 - HQ 0086997 > HQ 0086735

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 086735

January 25, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 086735 CMS


TARIFF NO.: 9017.20.80

Mr. Vernon D. Kurz
Import Manager
E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Company
Concord Plaza, Read Bldg.
Wilmington, DE 19898

RE: Lintronic 300R And 500R Laser Recorders; Drawing Machines And Instruments; Phototypesetting; Automatic Data Processing Output

Dear Mr. Kurz,

This responds to your request dated January 25, 1990, for a classification ruling on certain laser recorders. Our ruling follows.


The merchandise consists of the Lintronic 300R and 500R laser recorders. The recorders are used in phototypesetting, graphics, CAD (computer aided design) and CAM (computer aided manufacturing) applications. The recorders plot images by projecting a helium-neon laser beam onto photosensitive film, paper and foil in a raster scan format. The 300R has a resolution of up to 1,000 lines/cm. The 500R has a resolution of up to 666 lines/cm. The recorders can plot images which were created on personal computers. The high resolution laser recorders, which plot with beams of light on photosensitive surfaces, are also referred to as photoplotters.


Are the laser recorders classified as drawing instruments in Heading 9017, as phototypesetting machines or parts in Heading 8442, or as output units for data processing machines in Heading 8471?


Heading 9017 in part describes drawing instruments. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 9017, p. 1486, provide that the heading covers drawing instruments, including "...drafting machines incorporating automatic data processing machines or working in conjunction with such machines."

Heading 8442 in part describes machinery for typesetting. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 8442, p. 1236, provide that the heading covers composing machines using a laser beam projected onto photographic film.

Heading 8471 in part describes units of automatic data processing machines. Subheading 8471.92 describes input and output units.

The merchandise is not classified in Heading 8471 even assuming, arguendo, that it is described in Heading 8471 as output units. Chapter 84 Note 5, last paragraph, provides that "Heading 8471 does not cover machines incorporating or working in conjunction with an automatic data processing machine and performing a specific function. Such machines are classified in the headings appropriate to their respective functions or, failing that, in residual headings."

The laser recorders perform the specific function of high resolution plotting or drawing with beams of light onto photosensitive surfaces, specifically in phototypesetting, graphics, CAD and CAM applications.

Heading 9017 covers drawing instruments which work in conjunction with automatic data processing machines. For example, The Explanatory Notes to Heading 9017, p. 1486, provide that drafting machines are a type of drawing machine, and that the heading covers drafting machines which work in conjunction with automatic data processing machines. Further, the Compendium of Classification Opinions No. 9017.10/1 specifically provides that certain CAD systems are classified in subheading 9017.10, HTS.

The Lintronic product literature states that the recorders are used in CAD and CAM applications. Apparatus such as photoplotters, which include varieties that plot with a laser beam such as the Lintronic, are considered to be necessary equipment for drawing technical artwork in some CAD and
manufacturing applications. Raymond H. Clark, Handbook of Printed Circuit Manufacturing, (1975), p. 17, provides:

Equipment Necessary for CAD

Computer aided design for printed circuit artwork requires a number of special pieces of equipment. The first of these is the device that actually draws the finished artwork, the photoplotter. (emphasis added)

Heading 9017 drawing instruments which work in conjunction with automatic data processing machines are not limited to CAD apparatus. The Explanatory Note language refers in general to drafting machines which work in conjunction with data processing machines. (A proposal which would have limited the Explanatory Note language to CAD systems was submitted at the 6th Session of the Interim Harmonized System Committee, Joint Working Party, but was rejected in favor of the more general language which is currently embodied in the Explanatory Notes. See CCC Document 32.055 E, IHSC (November 23, 1984)).

Heading 9017 drawing instruments are also not limited to drafting machines. The drawing instruments described in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9017, pp. 1485-1486, are used in a number of drawing applications, including for reproductions of maps, plans, and parts to be machined, for mathematical drawings, and for engineering applications. The heading should similarly cover drawing instruments for computer graphics. (The graphics arts tools which the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9017, p. 1485, provide are not classified in Heading 9017 (e.g., chisels, gouges, etching needles) are actual tools which are provided for elsewhere in the HTSUSA; they are not computer aided drawing instruments such as the merchandise under consideration).

The Lintronic 300 and Lintronic 500 are described by Heading 9017 as drawing instruments.

The products are also used for typesetting. However, typesetting is only one of several of the machines' applications. The product literature describes the machines as "Laser Technologie for Phototypesetting, Graphics and CAD/CAM Output." The product literature also provides:

With their laser technology and recording precision, the Lintronic 300R and Lintronic 500R - the recorder modules of the imagesetters Lintronic 300/500 - will have a much wider market than the traditional printing industry...

It has not been demonstrated that the principal use of the machines is typesetting. Further, the recorders do not compose, and perform only part of the phototypesetting process. If the machines were classifiable in Heading 8442, they would likely be classified as parts. Pursuant to Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c), the machines would be classified in Heading 9017 which is a specific provision for drawing instruments, and not as parts in Heading 8442.

From the information provided, we find that the principal use of the machines is described by Heading 9017 which covers drawing machines, including those which work in conjunction with automatic data processing machines.


The Lintronic 300R and Lintronic 500R laser recorders are classified as drawing instruments in 9017.20.80, HTSUSA.


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: