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HQ 966166

May 9, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966166 DBS


TARIFF NO.: 8420.10.90; 8420.99.90

Port Director, Seaport Area
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
301 East Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802

RE: Protest 2704-02-102156 “Coollaminator” laminating machine and cartridge

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 2704-02-102156 filed against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of two models of laminating machines and accompanying film cartridges. The entries were liquidated on July 12, 2002, and the protest was timely filed on October 9, 2002. A sample of one model of the laminating machine and cartridge was provided.


The instant merchandise consists of model LX-900 and model LX-1200 “Coollaminator” laminating machines and model LC-D9 double-sided laminator cartridges used in the laminating machines. The “Coollaminator” laminating machines are desktop machines designed to seal paper documents, business cards, photographs and the like between plastic sheets. They consist of a feed tray, one of three types of replaceable film cartridges, two pressure rollers coated with a rubber sponge-like material, cutter units, and electric motor and an AC adapter. The cartridges, available in three widths for the LX-1200 and two widths for the LX-900, are composed of a plastic housing containing an upper and a lower roll of continuous clear plastic film. The housing serves to separate the two film rolls, preventing them from coming into contact with each other and creating a gap between them through which the flat article to be laminated passes.

The machine can laminate both sides of the flat article, laminate one side and apply an adhesive coating to the other, or laminate one side and apply a magnetic coating on the other side. The machine operates by automatically pulling the flat article from the feed tray into the unit. The flat article passes between the cartridge film rolls where pressure sensitive plastic film is dispensed. Now encased between two layers of film, the flat article passes between the set of rubber sponge-covered rollers which apply pressure to the article to ensure the film adheres strongly to the document without bubbles, wrinkles or other surface defects. No heat is used in performing the laminating function.

Next, the cutting units trim the sides of the plastic laminate material to the size of the flat article. Lastly, the trailing edge of the flat article is automatically (with “built-in auto cutter”) or manually cut, severing the laminated article from the continuous rolls of film. It appears, based on product literature, that the primary distinction between the two machines is size. The LX-1200 is larger than the LX-900, and, therefore, can accommodate a larger cartridge size than the LX-900.

Product literature and entry invoices indicate that the machine is imported with software on a CD-ROM disc. The CD-ROM is intended for use in a personal computer and allows the user to design and print various graphic designs which can be laminated by the machine.

The line item on the entry of the machines was liquidated under subheading 8472.90.95, HTSUS, which provides for other office machines. The line item on the entry for the cartridges was liquidated under subheading 8473.40.95, HTSUS, which provides for other parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of heading 8472, HTSUS.

Counsel for the protestant claims that the laminating machines are classifiable as other calendering or other rolling machines for rubber and plastics in subheading 8420.10.90, HTSUS, and that the cartridges are classifiable as parts of calendering or other rolling machines in subheading 8420.99.90, HTSUS. Counsel cites Headquarters ruling letters (HQ) 965289, dated August 26, 2002, and 965272, dated July 19, 2002, which classified other laminating devices in heading 8420, HTSUS, for support.


Whether the rollers of the “Coolaminator” revolve in close contact to apply the laminating film by means of pressure in order to be classifiable as a rolling machine of heading 8420, HTSUS.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 GRIs may then be applied.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) may be utilized. ENs, though not dispositive or legally binding, provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8420 Calendering or other rolling machines, other than for metals or glass, and cylinders therefor; parts thereof:

8420.10 Calendering or other rolling machines:

8420.10.90 Other

8420.99 Other:

8420.99.90 Other

8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: Other machines and mechanical appliances:

8479.89 Other:
8479.89.97 Other

8479.90 Parts:

8479.90.95 Other

The ENs to heading 8420, HTSUS, provide, in pertinent part, as follows:

With the exception of metal-rolling or metal-working machines . . . this heading covers calendering or other rolling machines, whether specialised to a particular industry or not.

These machines consist essentially of two or more parallel cylinders or rollers revolving with their surfaces in more or less close contact so as to perform the following operations, either by pressure of the cylinders alone or by pressure combined with friction, heat or moisture:

(1) The rolling into sheet form of material (including bakery, confectionery, biscuit, etc., doughs, chocolate, rubber, etc.) fed to the rollers in a plastic condition.

(3) The application of dressings or surface coatings.

Machines of this kind are employed in various industries (e.g. the paper, textile, leather, linoleum, plastics or rubber manufacturing industries)

In certain industries particular names are given to calendering machines (e.g. ironing machines in laundries, finishing mangles for the textile industry, or supercalenders for the paper industry) but they are classified in this heading whether called calendering machines or not.

In HQ 965289, a hand-cranked machine which, among other similar functions, laminated flat articles, such as a piece of paper, by use of parallel rollers revolving in close contact, applying laminate by means of pressure produced by the rollers, was classified as other rolling machines of heading 8420, HTSUS. In that ruling, we analyzed the scope of this heading, and concluded that if a machine, whether industrial or domestic, fulfilled the purposes described in the ENs by the means described in the ENs (i.e., two or more parallel cylinders or rollers revolving in close contact applying pressure to an article to perform the enumerated functions), then the machine fell within the scope of a calendering or other rolling machine. We further stated that according to Chapter 84, Note 2, HTSUS, a machine which answers to a description in one or more of the headings 8401 to 8424 and also answers to a description in one or more of the headings 8425 to 8480 is to be classified under the appropriate heading in the former group.

In HQ 965727, which also classified a laminating machine in heading 8420, HTSUS, we stated that laminators which function by heat-sealing the edges of the plastic sleeve, but which do not utilize parallel cylinders or rollers to apply pressure alone are outside the scope of heading 8420, HTSUS, and are classifiable as other office machines of heading 8472, HTSUS. See also HQ 965588 and HQ 965544, both dated July 19, 2002.

The rolls of film do not revolve in close contact to create pressure to apply the film; they simply deliver the film. However, the parallel rubber sponge-covered rollers are positioned such that the flat article passes through them immediately after the cartridge film rolls. These rollers revolve with their surfaces in direct contact with each side of the flat article. The pressure generated by the rollers applies the film to the flat article. This fact was uncovered upon our inspection of the sample provided.

The laminating machines apply a plastic coating to the surface of various documents by the pressure of two parallel rollers. They are clearly described by heading 8420, HTSUS. As with HQ 965289, we need not address whether the machine is also covered by heading 8472, HTSUS, because the classification would remain the same, pursuant to Note 2 of Chapter 84, supra. Accordingly, the “Coollaminator” machines are classifiable as other rolling machines of heading 8420, HTSUS.

The film cartridges appear to be suitable for use solely as parts of the “Coollaminator” machines. Cartridges imported separately as refill cartridges are classifiable, pursuant to Section XVI, note 2(b), HTSUS, in subheading 8420.99.90, HTSUS, as parts of calendering or other rolling machines. This conclusion results because the evidence does not establish that a specific provision for the cartridges outside of Section XVI exists, in the context of Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c), HTSUS. However, the starter cartridge imported in the box with the laminating machine is classified as discussed below.

Though it does not appear from the Customs Form (CF) 6445 or the CF 19 that the classification of the accompanying CD-ROM disc is in contention, we must address its classification. Software for automatic data processing machines (e.g., personal computers) is classifiable under heading 8524, HTSUS. Chapter 85, Note 6, HTSUS, provides, in pertinent part, that media of heading 8523 or 8524 remains classifiable in those headings when entered with the apparatus for which they are intended. “Apparatus for which they are intended” is defined in the note, in relevant part, as apparatus which reads or plays the media. The EN to the chapter notes provides that media presented with articles other than the apparatus for which they are intended, e.g., an instructional video, are classifiable according to GRI 3(b), if they comprise a set put up for retail sale, or classifiable separately.

According to GRI 3(b), “goods put up in sets for retail sale" means goods consisting of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings, consist of articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. GRI 3(b) instructs that goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if consisting of the component which gives them their essential character. The CD-ROM and “Coollaminator” together comprise goods put up in sets for retail sale. The essential character is imparted by the laminating machine because it performs primary action intended by the set - laminating. The role of the CD-ROM is to create things to be laminated by the machine. Accordingly, the set is classified under subheading 8420.10.90, HTSUS. If the film cartridge is imported with the CD-ROM and laminating machine in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking, then it is classifiable with the set. If imported separately, it is classifiable as a part in subheading 8420.99.90, HTSUS.


The model LX-900 and model LX-1200 “Coollaminator” laminating machines with CD-ROM are classified under the authority of GRI 3(b) in subheading 8420.10.90, which provides for “Calendering or other rolling machines, other than for metals or glass, and cylinders therefor; parts thereof: calendering or other rolling machines: other.”

The model LC-D9 double-sided laminator cartridges imported separately are classified in 8420.99.90, HTSUS, which provides for “Calendering or other rolling machines, other than for metals or glass, and cylinders therefor; parts thereof: parts: other: other.”

The protest should be GRANTED.

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 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 make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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