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HQ 959218

JULY 30, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959218 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8462.29.00

Mr. Michael McFaul
Tekcom Limited Company
11811 N. Tatum Boulevard, Suite 3000
Phoenix, Arizona 85028

RE: NY A81108 Affirmed; LeadStar 800 Lead Conditioning Machine; Machine for Adjusting Leads for Semiconductors; Machine for Positioning/Aligning Vertical and Horizontal Semiconductor Leads by Straightening or Bending, Metal- Working Machine Tool; Machine Having Individual Functions, Heading 8479

Dear Mr. McFaul:

In a letter, dated May 1, 1996, with enclosures, Tekcom Limited requests reconsideration of a ruling to the company on the classification of a semiconductor lead conditioning system made in Germany.


In NY A81108, dated April 3, 1996, issued by the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, the LeadStar 800 was held to be classifiable in subheading 8462.29.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as a machine tool for working metal by bending, folding, straightening or flattening.

As described in the ruling, the LeadStar 800 utilizes conditioning tools to align the metal leads of a semiconductor prior to placement on a printed circuit board. The machine works in conjunction with a lead inspection system, or RVSI, which detects misalignment of a lead. The RVSI is not part of this importation. The LeadStar 800 makes corrections to insure that all lead tips are in the same plane (coplanarity); that for each lead there is uniformity in the distance between a reference point and the body plane (body stand-off), and in the lateral distance between the shoulder where the lead touches the - 2 -
component body and the tip of a lead (bent lead or lead skew); that there is uniformity in the lateral distance between the tip centers of two adjacent leads (lead pitch), and uniformity in the lateral distance between the measured position of the lead and its ideal position (sweep or lead offset).

You maintain that the LeadStar 800 is not involved in "working metal" as the term is commonly used; rather, Teckom and other semiconductor manufacturers in the United States utilize it to produce and process semiconductors. You note that machines for production of semiconductor devices and electronic integrated circuits are among the machines and mechanical appliance provided for in heading 8479.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8462 Machine tools...for working metal by bending, folding, straightening, flattening, shearing, punching or notching...:

Bending, folding, straightening or flattening machines (including presses):

8462.29.00 Other...4.4 percent ad valorem

8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84]:

Other machines and mechanical appliances:

8478.89 Other:

84 79 .89.85 Machines for processing of semiconductor materials; machines for production and assembly of diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices and electronic integrated circuits;...Free


Whether a machine that corrects the positions of metal leads on a semiconductor to insure proper alignment on a printed circuit board is a metal working machine


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 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 ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The ENs at p. 1314 states, in relevant part, that heading 8479 is restricted to machinery which cannot be classified in any other heading of Chapter 84 because no other heading covers it by reference to its method of functioning, description or type. The issue, then, is the applicability of heading 8462.

The heading 8462 ENs, at p. 1279, describe (2) Bending machines and at p. 1280 describe (3) Folding machines. These include machines for working flat products (sheets, plates and strips) and non-flat products (bars, rods, angles, shapes, sections, tubes). The ENs at p. 1280 describe (4) Straightening machines and flattening machines as those for remedying imperfections in non-flat products, such as wire, bars, rods, tubes, angles, shapes and sections, or flat products, such as sheets or strip, arising during their manipulation after manufacture. You maintain that heading 8462 does not apply because the LeadStar 800 does not "work" metal as that term is commonly used, presumably in the manner described in the cited ENs.

The heading 8462 ENs state, at p. 1279, that the heading covers certain machine tools listed in the heading text, which work by changing the shape or form of metal or metal carbides (Emphasis added). The heading includes the machine tools listed on pp. 1279 and 1280, but these are examples only and are not an exhaustive listing. The function of machines like the LeadStar 800 is to correct unintended deformation of semiconductor leads, primarily by the use of straightening dies. It is our opinion that the positioning, aligning or correcting of leads on semiconductors involves changing their shape or form by straightening or bending them. These are machine tool functions described in the text of heading 8462.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the LeadStar 800 lead conditioning system is provided for in heading 8462. It is classifiable in subheading 8462.29.00, HTSUS. NY A81108, dated April 3, 1996, is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification
Appeals Division

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