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HQ 957755

JANUARY 24, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 957755 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8428.90.00, 8466.30.50

Port Director of Customs
4477 Woodson Road, Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63134-3716

RE: PRD 4503-95-100009; Hydraulic Roller Die Lifters; Hydraulic Lifting Rollers, Special Attachments for Machine Tools, Subheading 8466.30.30, Subheading 8466.30.50; Lifting, Handling, Loading, Unloading Machinery, Subheading 8428.90.00; Section XVI, Note 5, GRI 6; HQ 958621, HQ 958622

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 4503-95-100009, filed against your classification of certain hydraulic rollblocks or die lifters from Germany. The entries under protest were liquidated on December 9, 16, and 23, 1994, on January 6, 20, and 27, 1995, on February 3, 17, and 24, 1995, and on March 3, 1995. This protest was timely filed on March 8, 1995.


The merchandise in issue is designated the SWT die change consoles and SWT rollblocks or die lifters. This apparatus is used with large machine tool presses and permits heavy dies or tools used with the press to be lifted and handled.

The die change consoles consist of a series of metal rollers mounted in a frame. They are extensions mounted in pairs on the front and/or back of large machine tool presses to support the tool or die while it is being changed. The rollblocks consist of a metal bar equipped with multiple metal balls or rollers, and are either mechanically or hydraulically operated. The mechanical rollblocks or die lifters operate with spring-loaded balls or rollers and function by holding the tool or die above the bolster and absorbing its weight as it is clamped down onto the bed of the press. The hydraulic rollblocks or die lifters actually raise the tool or die by virtue of a hydraulic piston which lifts each ball or roller. Also referred to as hydraulic roller die lifters, these articles typically consist of a machined steel block drilled and ported to provide a passage for - 2 -
pressurized hydraulic fluid. Each block has numerous holes machined into it that act as cylinders, each of which is fitted with a U-shaped piston. A ball or transfer unit consisting of a metal body encasing a large, hollow steel ball or roller which freely rotates on a bed of smaller, solid steel balls, is inserted into each piston. When hydraulic pressure is applied the pistons move upward inside the cylinders causing the balls or rollers to raise or lower.

The merchandise was entered under the provision for other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery, in subheading 8428.90.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Alternatively, counsel for the protestant maintains that these devices are machines which are special attachments for machine tools of the type classifiable in subheading 8466.30.30, HTSUS. Your office determined that these devices were not machines, and because of their design and use, liquidated the entries under subheading 8466.30.50, HTSUS, as other special attachments for machine tools.

Counsel cites Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS, for the proposition that even if the die change consoles and rollblocks are solely or principally used with presses of chapter 84, in accordance with Note 2(b), they are goods included in heading 8428, by virtue of Note 2(a). We will address this argument in due course. Moreover, in support of the alternative classification as machines that are special attachments for machine tools, counsel maintains the consoles and rollblocks are within the definition of "machine" in Section XVI, Note 5, HTSUS, as "...any machine, machinery, plant, equipment, apparatus or appliance cited in the headings of chapter 84 or 85." For this reason, counsel argues that any TSUS-based definition of the term machine as "a device or apparatus with at least minimal mechanical capability that does work or which makes or acts on something outside itself" , that Customs may choose to rely on, is irrelevant under the HTSUS. However, counsel cites standard dictionary definitions of the term machine, but does not specify, for purposes of Note 5, which heading of chapter 84 or 85, other than 8428, describes the articles under protest. Finally, counsel maintains that if Customs decides that the hydraulic rollblocks are, in fact, machines that are special attachments for machine tools, the spring-type rollblocks should be similarly classifiable because, functionally, they are virtually indistinguishable.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8428 Other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery . . .:

8428.90.00 Other machinery...1.6 percent

8466 . . . [D]ividing heads and other special attachments for machine tools . . .:

8466.30 Dividing heads and other special attachments for machine tools:

Other special attachments:

8466.30.30 Machines...3.5 percent

8466.30.50 Other...9.2 percent


Whether the die change consoles or either the spring-type or hydraulic rollblocks are lifting or handling machinery of heading 8428.


Merchandise is classifiable under the 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 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).

Subject to certain exceptions that are not relevant here, goods that are identifiable parts of machines or apparatus of chapters 84 or 85 are to be classified in accordance with Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS. Note 2(a) states that parts 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. Notes 2(b) and 2(c) govern parts that are not classifiable by virtue of Note 2(a).

In this case, literature on hydraulic die lifters believed to be identical to the ones in issue here describe how the pistons in each segment "raise" the whole ledge, thus allowing the tool to be "moved" in a linear direction. The literature describes how the balls of the transfer unit are "raised", thus guaranteeing easy "handling" and "positioning" of the press tools. The name die lifter is indicative of their function.

Relevant ENs, at p. 1197, indicate that heading 84.28 covers a wide range of machinery for the mechanical handling of materials, goods, etc. that remain in the heading even if specialized for a particular industry. Additional ENs, at p. 1200, state that lifting or handling devices are often used with furnaces, converters, rolling mills, etc., e.g., machines for inserting, handling or withdrawing the pieces being worked; for manipulating doors, covers, hearths, etc. Machines used in certain types of furnaces for inserting or removing, by the action of cylinders fitted with rams or pistons, the objects being treated in the furnace. The design and function of the hydraulic die lifters in issue, together with the cited ENs, indicates that they perform a lifting or handling function. Under Section XVI, Note 2(a), they are goods included in heading 8428. HQ 958621 and HQ 958622, both dated December 28, 1995, are in accord.

The cited ENs, together with the other evidence of record, do not compel the same conclusion with respect to the spring-type rollblocks and the die change consoles. Their function and design indicates this merchandise does not lift or handle; rather, it is designed to support heavy tools or dies as they are manually positioned on the bed of the press. With respect to counsel's assertion that these articles are machines that are special attachments of heading 8466, the Section XVI, Note 5 definition of the term "machine" is made applicable at the subheading level through GRI 6. In this regard, subheading 8466.30.30 does not cite or enumerate any particular article which could be substituted for the term "machine."


Under the authority of GRI 1, the SWT hydraulic rollblocks or die lifters are provided for in heading 8428. They are classifiable in subheading 8428.90.00, HTSUS, as other machinery. The SWT die change consoles and spring-type rollblocks or die lifters are special attachments for machine tools of heading 8466. They are classifiable in subheading 8466.30.50, HTSUS, as other special attachments.

The protest should be ALLOWED as to the SWT hydraulic rollblocks or die lifters. The protest should be DENIED as to the remaining articles. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the - 5 -

Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification
Appeals Division

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