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HQ 960553

OCTOBER 17, 1997

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960553 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8482.10.50

Port Director of Customs
40 South Gay Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

RE: PRD 1303-97-100012; Gearless Slewing Ring, Turntable Bearing, Ball Bearing; Conveyor Turntables; Parts of Conveyor System, Heading 8431; Parts of Packing or Wrapping Machinery, Heading 8422; Rollix Bearing Inc. v. U.S., Nidec Corporation v. U.S.; HQ 950771

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1303-97-100012, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of gearless slewing rings, products of Germany. The entry under protest was liquidated on October 10, 1996, and this protest timely filed on January 9, 1997.


The merchandise in issue is referred to, alternately, as gearless slewing rings, turntable bearings, and conveyor turntables. In fact, they are machined elements ranging in diameter from 500 mm to more than 15 meters and consist of steel inner and outer rings containing raceways incorporating rolling elements separated by spacers, filler plugs and lubricant seals. This class of bearings is used, for example, with agricultural farm vehicles, cranes and excavators, and machine tools to reduce rotational friction under a thrust load. The slewing ring under protest is said to be used with wrapping and packaging equipment. Specifically, the rings have drilled bolt holes that permit their attachment to the moving and stationary parts of a conveyor used with the equipment.

These articles are to be differentiated from geared slewing rings, which have gear teeth cut on the inside of the inner ring. Such slewing rings are rotated by means of a motor-driven pinion
or worm gear which engages the teeth of the gear on the slewing ring. This rotates and positions whatever is attached to the slewing ring. Geared slewing rings normally derive their essential character from the transmission gear because they perform more of a gearing function than a friction-reducing function due to their ability to transmit power.

Because these articles were believed to perform a friction-reducing function, the concerned import specialist liquidated entry under a provision in HTS heading 8482 for ball bearings. In a memorandum, dated January 8, 1997, submitted in support of the protest, counsel maintains that the gearless slewing ring is provided for in HTS heading 8431, as a part suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430. Alternatively, he claims it is provided for in HTS heading 8422, as parts of packing or wrapping machinery.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8422 [O]ther packing or wrapping machinery; parts thereof:

8422.90 Parts:

8422.90.90 Other

8431 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 8425 to 8430:

Of machinery of heading 8428:

8431.39 Other:

8431.39.00 (now 80) Other

8482 Ball and roller bearings, and parts thereof:

8482.10 Ball bearings:

8482.10.50 Other


Whether gearless slewing rings are machinery parts 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 official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, 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). Relevant ENs at p. 1433 state in part that heading 84.82 covers all ball, roller or needle roller type bearings. They are used in place of smooth metal bearings and enable friction to be considerably reduced. Normally, bearings consist of two concentric rings (races) enclosing the balls or rollers, and a cage which keeps them in place and ensures that their spacing remains constant. The heading includes ball bearings with single or double rows of balls. These notes appear to describe the articles under protest.

Counsel argues that the gearless slewing rings under protest are not goods of heading 8482 because they have characteristics and perform functions not appropriate to bearings of heading 8482. For example, the external flanges and bolt holes for mounting characterize the article as a mechanical joint. We disagree. It is apparent that for ball or roller bearings to function as friction-reducing elements they must necessarily have design features which permit them to attach to a shaft or machinery part with which they will be used. It is our opinion that only a design feature or features which imparts a significant additional non-friction reducing capability to a ball or roller bearing will remove that bearing from the scope of heading 8482. In this case, the available information indicates the flanges and bolt holes merely facilitate the mounting of the slewing ring onto the machine with which it will be used. These
are design features common to all ball or roller bearings. The fact that this particular slewing ring may be designed specifically for incorporation into a conveyor used with packaging machinery or equipment is not legally relevant because many ball or roller bearing types are manufactured to specific engineering and design criteria and are purchased with a particular application in mind. See HQ 950771, dated March 23, 1992, and related rulings. Counsel also argues that the slewing rings are also capable of resisting combinations of high radial, thrust, as well as tilting loads, the latter of which is said to be atypical of ball or roller bearings of heading 8482. We disagree. There is no compelling evidence that resisting a tilting load, which is a friction-reducing function, is not a characteristic of ball or roller bearings. Heading 8482 describes a commodity eo nomine, by name. In the absence of a contrary legislative intent, judicial decision, or administrative practice, and without proof of commercial designation, an unlimited eo nomine designation will include all forms of the named article. Counsel next argues that these articles may perform the function of transmitting motion, which is not characteristic of bearings of heading 8482. We disagree. Geared slewing rings do, in fact, perform such a function, but the articles under protest are gearless. For this reason, counsel's reliance on Rollix Bearing Inc. v. United States, 757 F. Supp. 1412 (Ct. Int'l Trade, 1991), is misplaced, as that case dealt with geared slewing rings.

Even assuming that gearless slewing rings qualified for tariff purposes as parts of packing machinery or as parts of conveyors, they would still be goods included in heading 8482 and would be so classifiable. See Nidec Corporation v. United States, 861 F. Supp. 136, aff'd. 68 F. 3d 1333 (1995).


Under the authority of GRI 1, gearless slewing rings or turntable bearings are provided for in heading 8482. They are classifiable in subheading 8482.10.50, 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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