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HQ 956031

June 7, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956031 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8431.31.00

Ms. Andrea E. Migdal
Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich
401 B Street, Suite 1700
San Diego, California 92101-4297

RE: MICROSCAN Elevator Door Detection Devices; Section XVI, note 2(a); Section XVI, note 3; heading 8531; heading 8537; HQ 954364; EN 84.31; EN 85.31; EN 85.37

Dear Ms. Migdal:

This is in response to your letter of February 17, 1994, on behalf of T.L. Jones Microscan, Inc., to Customs in New York, requesting the classification of MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for a response.


The articles in question are MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices, which are designed to detect obstructions in the elevator door opening prior to closing the elevator's doors. Depending on the particular model, the devices can be used in either side opening elevator door applications or center closing elevator door applications. However, the devices for each of these applications are essentially the same in design, purpose and operation.

The devices are designed to operate as elevator entrance detector screens, and are installed in both new and existing in- service elevators. Each device uses 32 infrared light beams projected between a transceiver (combined transmitter and receiver) installed on opposite sides of the elevator door opening. The infrared transmitters and corresponding receivers are designed to determine the presence of an uninterrupted light path in the elevator door opening. If one or more of the beams - 2 -
are interrupted, a relay is de-energized causing the elevator door controller, depending on the model, to open the doors or stop them from closing. This relay is the interface between the device and the elevator door control system, which is not a part of the device in question.

The devices also include an audible warning circuit consisting of two timers and a beeper. The first timer determines the delay time before the beeper is activated and can be set from zero to 60 seconds. The second timer determines the beep time and starts after the delay time runs out and can also be set from zero to 60 seconds.


Whether the MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices are classifiable as elevator parts under heading 8431, HTSUS, as electronic signaling devices under heading 8531, HTSUS, or as bases for the control or distribution of electricity under heading 8537, HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The subheadings at issue are as follows:

8431 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430:
Of machinery of heading 8428:
8431.31.00 Of passenger or freight elevators other than continuous action, skip hoists or escalators

8531 Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire alarms), other than those of heading 8512 or 8530; parts thereof:
Other apparatus:
8531.80.80 Other

8537 Boards, panels (including numerical control panels), consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity, including those incorporating instruments or apparatus of chapter 90, other than switching apparatus of heading 8517:
For a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V:
8537.10.90 Other

Note 2 to section XVI, HTSUS, governs the classification of parts in chapters 84 and 85. Note 2(a) provides that "[p]arts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 and 85 (other than headings 8485 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings [emphasis added] . . . . Accordingly, if the MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices are goods included in heading 8531 or 8537, HTSUS, they cannot be classified as parts under heading 8431, HTSUS.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 85.31, pg. 1381, states that heading 8531, HTSUS, "covers all electrical apparatus used for signalling purposes, whether using sound for the transmission of the signal (bells, buzzers, hooters, etc.) or using visual indication (lamps, flaps, illuminated numbers, etc.), and whether operated by hand (e.g., door bells) or automatically (e.g., burglar alarms)." While the devices in question perform a signaling function, they also cause the elevator doors to open or remain open, by de-energizing a relay.

In HQ 954364, dated January 27, 1994, Customs reiterated that heading 8531, HTSUS, is a use provision subject to Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), which states that: "a tariff classification controlled by use . . . is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use." In that ruling, we held that certain liquid crystal displays, due to the limitation of their design, function and principal use to that of "signaling," - 4 -
were classifiable as visual signaling apparatus under heading 8531, HTSUS.

The MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices are not so limited. In fact, it is our opinion that the principal function of the devices is not their signaling ability, but their ability, by de-energizing a relay, to cause the elevator doors to open or remain open. Accordingly, the devices are not merely signaling apparatus, and cannot be classified under heading 8531, HTSUS.

It has been suggested that the devices are classifiable as other bases for the control or distribution of electricity under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS. EN 85.37, pg. 1391, states that the articles of heading 8537, HTSUS, "consist of an assembly of apparatus of the kind referred to in the two preceding headings (e.g., switches and fuses) on a board, panel, console, etc., or mounted in a cabinet, desk, etc. They usually also incorporate meters, and sometimes also subsidiary apparatus such as transformers, valves, voltage regulators, rheostats or luminous circuit diagrams."

The MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices are not designed for the control or distribution of electricity. They do not consist of an assembly of apparatus on a board, panel, console or mounted in a cabinet or desk. They do not incorporate meters, transformers, valves, voltage regulators, rheostats or luminous circuit diagrams. Moreover, the devices perform a signaling function that is not contemplated by the terms of heading 8537, HTSUS, nor EN 85.37, pg. 1391. As such, the devices do not fall within the limited scope of heading 8537, HTSUS, and because they are not "goods included" in any chapter 84 or 85 heading, note 2(a) to section XVI is inapplicable.

EN 84.31, pg. 1207, states that heading 8431, HTSUS, "covers parts for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 8425 to 8430 [emphasis in original]." Heading 8428, HTSUS, provides for "[o]ther lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery (for example, lifts, elevators, conveyors, teleferics)." The MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices are solely used with the elevators of heading 8428, HTSUS. Accordingly, they are classifiable, as parts, under heading 8431, HTSUS, specifically under subheading 8431.31.00, HTSUS.


The MICROSCAN elevator door detection devices are classifiable under subheading 8431.31.00, HTSUS, which provides - 5 -
for parts of passenger or freight elevators. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 2% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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