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 > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0952379 - HQ 0952469 > HQ 0952439

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 952439

February 3, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952439 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8514.10.00

Mr. Michael G. Lubitz
Kyocera Industrial Ceramic Corporation
5713 East Fourth Plain Boulevard
Vancouver, WA 98661

RE: Hot Isostatic Press; Revocation of NY 852182; Explanatory Note 84.19; Explanatory Note 85.14(I)(A); Section XVI, Note 4; Heading 8419

Dear Mr. Lubitz:

This is in response to your letters of August 7, 1992, and January 19, 1993, concerning the classification of a hot isostatic press under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of a hot isostatic press (HIP). The HIP is comprised of several components, including a pressure vessel assembly, a press frame, a protective barrier, a charging manipulator, a vacuum unit, a gas compressor, a valve stand, a control unit, an oil hydraulic power unit, and a closed circuit cooling unit.

Through the use of the HIP, certain ceramic articles (not powders) can be further densified at high temperatures by a technique commonly referred to as gas pressure sintering. The density of the ceramic article increases through the application of high temperature and high pressure in tandem. It is noted that the densification which occurs is minor and no working of the article will take place. Prior to gas pressure bonding, the ceramic article has been dried and fired. However, the internal structure of the ceramic article exhibits a limited degree of porosity, voids, or gaps on a micro-subsurface level.

The ceramic article is placed in the pressure vessel assembly which houses a high temperature resistance furnace. Electrical current passes through the elements (heating resistors) producing heat. The atmosphere of the furnace is purged so that all air and moisture are removed, and an inert gas is injected into the furnace and heated in order to reach the desired forming pressure [2000 atmospheres or 30,000 pounds per square inch (p.s.i.)]. The furnace temperature is raised from approximately room temperature to the desired level [2000 degrees Celsius (C) or 3632 degrees Fahrenheit (F)] and maintained for a specified time. The rate of temperature change must be precise to avoid catastrophic failure from thermal stress. Subsequently, the furnace atmosphere is cooled and depressurized at a certain rate to prevent cracking of the ceramic article. The high temperature, high pressure system decreases porosity which increases the strength of the ceramic article.


What is the proper classification of the HIP under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Section XVI, note 4, HTSUS, states that:

[w]here a machine (including a combination of machines) consists of individual components (whether separate or interconnected by piping, by transmission devices, by electric cables or by other devices) intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by one of the headings in chapter 84 or chapter 85, then the whole falls to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function.

It is our position that the primary function of the HIP is to densify ceramic articles, and the pressure vessel assembly is where this function is accomplished. Therefore, the pressure vessel assembly possesses the primary function in relation to the use of the HIP.

In NY 852182, dated May 9, 1990, a pressure vessel assembly similar the one installed in the subject HIP was held to be classifiable under heading 8419, HTSUS, which, in part, provides for: "[m]achinery, plant or laboratory equipment, whether or not electrically heated, for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as heating . . . other than machinery or plant of a kind used for domestic purposes . . ."

In part, Explanatory Note 84.19 (p. 1173) states that:

. . . the heading covers machinery and plant designed to submit materials (solid, liquid or gaseous) to a heating or cooling process in order to cause a simple change of temperature, or to cause a transformation of the materials resulting principally from the temperature change . . . (emphasis supplied).

Based upon the above Explanatory Note, it is our position that pressure vessel assemblies of the kind installed in the subject HIP are not classifiable under heading 8419, HTSUS. The assembly is not designed to submit the ceramic article to a simple change in temperature. When in operation, the assembly heats from room temperature to 2000 degrees C. Also, the assembly does not cause a transformation of the ceramic article resulting principally from the temperature change. Any transformation results from a temperature and pressure change, operating in tandem.

Heading 8514, HTSUS, provides for: "[i]ndustrial or laboratory electric (including induction or dielectric) furnaces and ovens; other industrial or laboratory induction or dielectric heating equipment."

In part, Explanatory Note 85.14(I)(A) (p. 1352) states that:

[e]lectric furnaces and ovens consist essentially of a more or less closed space or vessel in which a relatively high temperature is obtained. . .

The furnaces and ovens covered by this group include, inter alia:

(A) Resistance heated furnaces and ovens in which the heat is produced by the passage of a current through heating resistors.

Based upon the description given in the above Explanatory Note, it is our position that the pressure vessel assembly installed in the subject HIP is classifiable under heading 8514, HTSUS. The assembly is a resistance heated furnace, and although there is no mention of the use of pressure, we do not find the Explanatory Note to be restrictive in that regard. As was pointed out by an engineer for Kyocera, many furnaces possess a closed vessel which subjects material to certain amounts of pressure. There is no restrictive language under Explanatory Note 85.14 as there is under Explanatory Note 84.19.

Therefore, it is our position that the pressure vessel assembly is classifiable under subheading 8514.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[r]esistance heated furnaces and ovens."

Because the pressure vessel assembly possesses the primary function in relation to the use of the HIP, under section XVI, note 4, HTSUS, the HIP is classifiable under subheading 8514.10.00, HTSUS.


The subject HIP is classifiable under subheading 8514.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[r]esistance heated furnaces and ovens." The general, column one rate of duty is 2.5 percent ad valorem.


NY 852182 is revoked in full.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: