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HQ 963819

July 19, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963819 GOB


TARIFF NO.: 9032.89.60

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
Second and Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: Protest 1101-99-100273; Register control system

Dear Sir:

This is our decision regarding Protest 1101-99-100273 filed by Presstech Controls Ltd. (“protestant”) concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) of the Audotron 1200, a register control system.


The entry at issue was filed on April 24, 1998, and was liquidated on August 13, 1999. The protest was filed on November 9, 1999.

The article was entered under subheading 8443.60.00, HTSUS, as “Printing machinery : Machines for uses ancillary to printing[.]”

The entry was rate advanced and liquidated under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS, as: “Boards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity : For a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V: Other[.]”

The protestant states that the subject article consists of the following components: a scanning head, the main electronics, a motrol, and an operator interface. The protestant advises that the register control system is not imported with the motors which are later used with the system. The submitted materials describe the “System Autotron 1200” as follows:

System Autotron 1200 is an automatic register control system designed to work only with small, 1 x 1.6mm rectangular register marks in the marks ahead configuration. The major features are the photo-diode matrix method of mark detection, electronic mark tracking and error measurement techniques. The multi-unit control algorithms required on this type of machine for fast, accurate and stable register are implemented by measuring both the register error and the differences in repeat lengths printed by the various printing units The system comprises the following major modules: measurement and control module; operator interface module; and motor drive module.

The measurement and control module consists of an encoder; scanning heads and junction boxes; and measurement and control electronics.

The protestant cites HQ 087880 dated January 28, 1991, and states that the article classified therein is “identical in function to the Audotron 1200.” Based upon HQ 087880, the protestant now claims that the article is classifiable under subheading 9032.89.60, HTSUS, as: “Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof: ... Other instruments and apparatus: Other: Other[.]”


Is the Audotron 1200 register control system provided for in heading 8537, HTSUS, or in heading 9032, HTSUS?


We note initially that the protest was timely filed under the statutory and regulatory provisions for protests, 19 U.S.C. 1514(c)(3)(A) and 19 CFR 174.12(e)(1).

Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI’s”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI’s may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“EN’s”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN’s provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80.

Heading 8537 covers:

Boards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity, including those incorporating instruments or apparatus of chapter 90, and numerical control apparatus, other than switching apparatus of heading 8517[.]

Heading 9032 covers:

Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof[.]

Heading 8537 is within Section XVI, HTSUS. Note 1(m) to Section XVI provides that Section XVI does not cover articles of Chapter 90, HTSUS. Thus, if the register control system is described in Chapter 90 (which includes heading 9032), it cannot be classified in heading 8537.

EN 90.32 (II) provides, in pertinent part:

The automatic regulators of this heading are intended for use in complete automatic control systems which are designed to bring a quantity, electrical or non-electrical, to, and maintain it at, a desired value, stabilised against any disturbances, by constantly or periodically measuring its actual value. They consist essentially of the following devices:

A measuring device

An electrical control device

A starting, stopping, or operating device

An automatic regulator within the meaning of Note 6(b) to this Chapter consists of the devices described in (A), (B), and (C) above, whether assembled together as a single entity or in accordance with Note 3 to this Chapter, a functional unit.

Automatic regulators are connected to an electrical, pneumatic or hydraulic actuator, which brings the controlled variable back to the desired value

Legal Note 6(b) to Chapter 90, HTSUS, provides:

Heading 9032 applies only to:

(b) Automatic regulators of electrical quantities, and instruments or apparatus for automatically controlling non-electrical quantities the operation of which depends on an electrical phenomenon varying according to the factor to be controlled.

In HQ 087880, we determined that a “Register Guidance System IV” was classified in subheading 9032.89.60, HTSUS. HQ 087880 cited Opinion No. 9032.89(1) of the Compendium of Classification opinions, Amending Supplement No. 1 (July, 1988), which pertained to the classification of a system for controlling and monitoring paper during manufacture. In that opinion, a system including a scanner and control computer which analyzed data and transmitted electric signals to the action devices to regulate technical specifications (e.g., paper thickness, moisture) was classified in subheading 9032.89, HTS.

The purpose of the register control system at issue here is to make the distance, a standard unit of measurement, as small as possible between the special marks on the paper and the corresponding spot on the surface with the next layer of ink to be applied. The system sends instructions to the motor to adjust one surface a little more to the left or right, or up or down, proportional to the amount it is off-target (“out of register”). The motor makes no changes if the surface is precisely on target.

It is our determination that the subject article is provided for in heading 9032 and is classified in subheading 9032.89.60, HTSUS as: “Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof: Other instruments and apparatus: Other: Other[.]”

We note that this classification is neither the classification claimed at entry nor the classification under which the register control system was liquidated.


The articles are provided for in heading 9032, HTSUS, and are classified in subheading 9032., HTSUS, as “Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof: Other instruments and apparatus: Other: Other[.]

You are instructed to GRANT the protest.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to 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 in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.treas.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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