United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1998 HQ Rulings > HQ 960380 - HQ 960511 > HQ 960385

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 960385

JANUARY 29, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960385 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8424.89.70, 8460.90.80

Mr. John F. Di Leo
Schenker International, Inc.
1572 East Bolivar Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53235

RE: NY 854613 Modified; Printed Circuit Board Processing Machines; Machine Tool that Utilizes Nylon Brushes Sprayed With Pumice to Remove Copper Particles from Printed Circuits; Machines for Washing Away Chemical Residue from Printed Circuits; Apparatus and Equipment for Photographic Laboratories, Heading 9010, Section XVI, Note 1(m); Machines and Mechanical Appliances, Heading 8479; Machine Tools That Scrub, Rinse and Dry Printed Circuits, Principal Function, Section XVI, Note 3

Dear Mr. Di Leo:

NY 854613, dated August 8, 1990, which the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, issued to Hamlet and Smith, Inc., on on behalf of International Supplies Company, S.R.L., concerned the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of certain machines for processing printed circuit boards. Among the machines NY 854613 considered were the Pumiflex-SHD and Pumex-SHD, used to clean copper foil circuit boards. These were held to be classifiable in subheading 8479.89.90, HTSUS, as other machines and mechanical appliances. A third machine, the PSSM-Developer-SHD, used to wash photo-resist chemicals from printed circuits, was held to be classifiable in subheading 9010.20.60, HTSUS, as other apparatus and equipment for photographic laboratories.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed modification NY 854613 was published on December 24, 1997, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 31, Number 52.


NY 854613 described the Pumiflex-SHD and the Pumex-SHD as machines for cleaning the outer layer of a copper foil printed circuit board prior to laminating the surface with a dry film. The process involves scrubbing the surface of the board with rotating nylon brushes sprayed with pumice in a water suspension, washing the board with nylon brushes and clean water, and blow-drying the board. The scrubbing process removes a thin uniform layer of oxide and copper with the microscopic action of the pumice creating a surface of fresh, virgin copper.

NY 854613 described the PSSM-Developer-SHD as a machine used for the development of photo-sensitive solder masks on printed circuit boards. The process involves spraying chemical solutions onto the boards in a series of developing chambers. The machine then rinses the residues away and drys the boards.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8424 Mechanical appliances...for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders...:

Other appliances:

8424.89 Other:

8424.89.90 (now 70) Other

8460 Machine tools for deburring...grinding... polishing or otherwise finishing metal by means...abrasives or polishing products...:

8460.90 Other:

8460.90.80 Other

8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, n.s.i.e....:

Other machines and mechanical appliances:

8479.89 Other:

8479.89.90 Other

9010 Apparatus and equipment for photographic... laboratories...n.s.i.e.:

9010.50 Other apparatus and equipment for photographic...laboratories...:

9010.50.60 (formerly 20.60)


Whether the Pumiflex-SHD and the Pumex-SHD perform a machine tool function; whether the PSSM-Developer-SHD performs any function appropriate to goods of heading 9010.


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. Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, states in part that machines 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.

Heading 8479 is restricted to machinery having individual functions which is not covered more specifically by a heading in any other Chapter of the HTSUS. The Pumiflex-SHD and Pumex-SHD are conveyor-equipped machines both of which perform the sequential functions of scrubbing, spray washing and drying the
metallic surfaces of printed circuit boards. The scrubbing with nylon brushes and a suspension of pumice and water removes a thin layer of oxide and copper, thus ensuring optimum surface preparation of the circuit boards for later processing. The subsequent washing and drying operations augment the scrubbing operation by removing the unwanted residues. From their design and manner of operation, we conclude that scrubbing is the principal function these machines perform. By operation of Section XVI, Note 3, these machines are to be classified as if consisting only of the scrubbing component. Surface-finishing machines for metal that remove material by means of abrasives are among those provided for in heading 8460.

The description of the PSSM-Developer-SHD initially led Customs to conclude that it was photo-developing apparatus and equipment of the type provided for in heading 9010. It now appears that the principal function of this conveyor-equipped machine is to spray an alkaline soluble coating onto printed circuit boards as a conveyor moves them through a series of chambers. This removes a photo-resist chemical from the boards and prepares them for further processing. By operation of Section XVI, Note 3, this machine is to be classified as if consisting only of the spraying component. Mechanical appliances for spraying liquids or powders are provided for in heading 8424. The machine then rinses away the residue and drys the boards.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Pumiflex-SHD and the Pumex-SHD are provided for in heading 8460. They are classifiable in subheading 8460.90.80, HTSUS. Under the authority of GRI 1, the PSSM-Developer-SHD is provided for in heading 8424. It is classifiable in subheading 8424.89.70, HTSUS.

NY 854613, dated August 8, 1990, is modified accordingly. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.

Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: