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HQ 957404

MAY 31, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 957404 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8460.90.40, 8460.90.80

Mr. Richard Landers
Quebecor Printing Richmond Inc.
P. O. Box 9579
Richmond, VA 23228

RE: Polishing and Cooling Machine; Machinery for Preparing Printing Cylinders, Heading 8442; Machine for Surface Finishing Printing Cylinders; Machine Tool for Removing Metal by Means of a Polishing Stone; Composite Machine, Principal Function, Section XVI, Note 3; HQ 957763

Dear Mr. Landers:

In a letter to you, NY 803750, dated November 23, 1994, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, replied to your ruling request of October 27, 1994, on the classification of a printing press and related equipment. You were advised that this office would issue a separate ruling on the classification of the chrome polishing and cooling machine.


Gravure printing machines utilize chrome-plated copper cylinders that are engraved with the images to be printed. The chrome polishing and cooling machine in issue is machinery designed to remove the chrome plating and the engraved image by grinding or polishing with an abrasive. Each cylinder will subsequently be rechromed and a new image etched onto it.

The following components comprise the machine in issue: a polishing device consisting of a working trough to hold the cylinder, a guide system with motor-driven rack and pinion drive to rotate the cylinder, polishing head with polishing stone, cold/warm water connections with mixing valves and solenoids to wash away extraneous chrome particles and other residue and to cool the cylinder after working, and computer control operated by digital display panel. It is unclear whether the machine is numerically controlled, that is, able to carry out its machining operations according to a program of numerically-coded instructions. The listed components are mounted on a supporting frame made up of tubes welded into a heavy structure with adjustable plastic feet. - 2 -

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8442 Machinery, apparatus and equipment (other than the machine tools of headings 8456 to 8465), ... for preparing or making printing blocks, plates, cylinders and other printing components...; parts thereof:

8442.30.00 Other machinery, apparatus and equipment ...Free

8460 Machine tools for deburring, sharpening, grinding, honing, lapping, polishing or otherwise finishing metal...by means of grinding stones, abrasives or polishing products:

8460.90 Other:

8460.90.40 Numerically controlled...4.4 percent

8460.90.80 Other...4.4 percent


Whether the chrome polishing and cooling machine in issue is a machine tool for tariff purposes.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized system. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

For tariff purposes, composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions, are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function. Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS. The chrome polishing and cooling machine consecutively performs two separate functions that are complementary, i.e., polishing and cooling. Cleansing with water both cools the workpiece after polishing and removes extraneous chrome particles. Machines of different kinds that are on a common base or frame are fitted together to form a whole for purposes of the cited note. The chrome polishing and cooling machine qualifies as a composite machine for tariff purposes, the principal function clearly being to polish.

By the terms of heading 8442, if the chrome polishing and cooling machine is a machine tool of heading 8460, it cannot be classified in heading 8442. Relevant ENs state at pp. 1274 and 1275 that heading 8460 covers certain surface-finishing machines for metal which work by removing material by means of grinding stones, abrasives, or polishing products, and includes polishing machines for finishing the surface of the workpiece. For purposes of the heading, the expression "polishing products" encompasses, among other things, polishing discs or polishing pads. The principal function of the chrome polishing and cooling machine in issue is to finish the surface of the printing cylinder by polishing to prepare it for replating and etching. It qualifies as a machine tool for tariff purposes. For this reason, it cannot be classified as machinery of heading 8442. HQ 957763, dated May 22, 1995, reached the same conclusion with regard to a similar polishing and cooling machine.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the chrome polishing and cooling machine is provided for in heading 8460. If numerically controlled, it is classifiable in subheading 8460.90.40, HTSUS. If not numerically controlled, it is classifiable in subheading 8460.90.80, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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