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HQ 959709

APRIL 11, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959709 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8421.29.00

Port Director of Customs
2nd & Chestnut Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: PRD 1101-95-100725; Degassing Box; Industrial Electric Furnace, Refining Furnace, Heading 8514; Electric Resistance Miniheater, Refractory-Lined Vessel with Lid for Removing Hydrogen Molecules from Molten Aluminum; Filtering or Purifying Machinery and Apparatus

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1101-95-100725, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a degassing box, a product of France. The entry under protest was liquidated on September 29, 1995, and this protest timely filed on November 21, 1995.


The merchandise in issue is the Alpur SX 3000 degassing box for a #8 holding furnace. Also referred to as an electric resistance miniheater and a degassing furnace, this device is a refractory lined vessel with lid and measures 248 x 188 x 196 cm. It is used in tandem with a melting furnace and a holding furnace in the aluminum-refining process to remove impurities from molten aluminum during casting operations. This last step is sometimes optional, depending on the nature and level of impurities present, and involves forcing argon or other inert gas into the melt by means of a graphite shaft fastened to a cylindrical rotor head. The gas reacts with hydrogen in the molten metal causing earth metals and other dross materials to float to the surface where they are removed via a cleanout hatch. The hydrogen burns off and the gas is vented to the atmosphere. During this operation a channel inductor maintains a constant temperature to - 2 -
keep the aluminum in a molten state. The purchase order indicates the degassing box will be imported incomplete or unfinished. It will include electric immersion heaters, sheathes (graphite) and thermocouples, but will lack rotors, stators, drive assemblies and control panel. Because the issue is not raised on protest, we will regard the apparatus as complete or finished for purposes of this decision.

The degassing box was entered under a provision in HTS heading 8514 for resistance heated furnaces. You determined, however, that the principal function of the degassing box is to purify molten aluminum and liquidated the entry under a provision in heading 8421 for filtering and purifying machinery and apparatus for liquids.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8421 [f]iltering or purifying machinery and apparatus, for liquids or gases:

Filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus for liquids:

8421.29.00 Other

8514 Industrial or laboratory electric...furnaces and ovens:

8514.10.00 Resistance heated furnaces and ovens


Whether the principal function of this apparatus is filtering or purifying.


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. - 3 -

In accordance with Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, a machine adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions is to be classified according to its principal function. In this case, the degassing box performs a purifying function appropriate to machinery and apparatus of heading 8421, as that heading covers filters and purifiers of all types. The degassing box is also an industrial type, electro-thermic apparatus in which relatively high temperatures are obtained electrically. This is a function appropriate to industrial electric furnaces of heading 8514.

In this case, submitted literature describes "a unique process to remove impurities from molten metal..." Indeed, the designation degassing strongly suggests a purification function. The degassing box is not a melting furnace but, rather, is utilized to maintain a set temperature to keep the aluminum in a molten state while some other function is being performed. We conclude that the degassing box performs the principal function of purification by means of the flotation method.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Alpur SX 3000 degassing box is provided for in heading 8421. It is classifiable in subheading 8421.29.00, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED. 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 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

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