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HQ 967974

FEBRUARY 17, 2006



TARIFF NO.: 8462.21.8085

John C. Sciaccotta, Esq.
Shefsky & Froelich
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2800
Chicago, Illinois 60601

RE: Gamma 333 PC Automated Wire Processing Machine; NY L85349 Affirmed

Dear Mr. Sciaccotta:

In a letter to the Customs Information Exchange, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York, dated September 22, 2005, on behalf of Komax Corporation, you request reconsideration of a ruling issued to the client on the classification of a wire working machine under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Descriptive literature and a compact disc video were included. Your letter has been referred to this office for reply.

In NY L85349, which the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, CBP, New York, issued to a representative of Komax on June 24, 2005, a wire working machine called the Gamma 333 PC was found to be classifiable under the provision for bending, folding, straightening or flattening machine tools (including presses), numerically controlled, in 8462.21.8085, HTSUSA. For the reasons that follow, you maintain that subheading 8479.89.9897, HTSUSA, machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84], represents the correct classification.


The Gamma 333 Automated Wire Processing Machine (Gamma 333) was described in NY L85349 as a computer-controlled wire working machine which processes a wide range of cables and other insulated copper wire products by cutting the wire, stripping off insulation, and crimping contacts, connectors or terminals to the exposed end of the wire. The processed wires are installed in wire harnesses for use typically in the automotive and home appliance industries.

In sequence, the wire is fed via plastic coated rollers to an inkjet or hot stamp module which marks the wire for cutting. The marked wire is then fed to a V-blade cutting module which cuts the wire to specific length and strips the insulation from the end. Individual wires may then be pre-soldered by a process called “tinning.” The wire is then presented to single or double crimping modules where the contacts, connectors or terminals are affixed. Separate processing modules may be incorporated into the Gamma 333 to apply a plastic seal onto the lead end of the wire or insert a flexible plastic sleeve over the crimped end.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

[m]achine tools (including presses) for working metal by bending, folding, straightening, flattening, shearing, punching or notching;:

Bending, folding, straightening or flattening machines (including presses):

Numerically controlled:

For bending, folding and straightening semiconductor leads


Machines and mechanical appliances, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84];:

Other machines and mechanical appliances:



8479.89.98 Other


Whether the Gamma 333 is a bending or folding machine tool of heading 8462.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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 relevant part, that machines designed for the purpose of 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. GRI 3(c) states that where goods cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) or (b), they shall be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. Chapter 84, Note 7, HTSUS, states that a machine which is used for more than one purpose is, for the purposes of classification, to be treated as if its principal purpose is its sole purpose. Note 7 continues, in part, by stating that subject to Note 3 above, a machine for which no one purpose is the principal purpose is, unless the context requires otherwise, to be classified in heading 8479.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs and Border Protection (or CBP, as appropriate) believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

You maintain that the Gamma 333 is classifiable as a machine or mechanical appliance of heading 8479 and make the following arguments in support of this classification. The Gamma 333 is a multi-function machine under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, with the various, customized modules performing distinct complementary functions. You conclude that the crimping function, the basis for the conclusion reached in NY L85349, is an “isolated” and “optional” function and is not the Gamma 333’s principal function. You conclude that where, as here, it is not possible to
determine the principal function, the ENs to Section XVI, Note 3, under (VI) MULTI-FUNCTION MACHINES AND COMPOSITE MACHINES, require that GRI 3(c) be applied. This would result in classification under heading 8479, HTSUS. You state that this classification principal is reiterated in Chapter 84, Note 7, HTSUS. In addition, you cite several rulings you claim govern classification here in which machines with multiple components were found to be composite machines under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, but were classified in heading 8479 because no principal function could be determined. More succinctly, you cite a ruling in which CBP has classified a terminal wire crimping machine, you indicate is substantially similar to the Gamma 333, in heading 8479, HTSUS. In the alternative, should the Gamma 333 be found to have a distinct principal “purpose,” that purpose is described by example (3) in the heading 8479 ENs under (I) MACHINERY OF GENERAL USE, as mechanical distributors for continuous presentation of work pieces in the same alignment ready for the working operation, not specialized for any particular industry. By analogy, you state the Gamma 333 presents sections of wire (the work pieces in this case) to the various modules for their ”isolated” and “individual” uses such as cutting, stripping, crimping, sealing, sleeving, marking or tinning. Lastly, you maintain the Gamma 333 does not meet the heading 8462 EN description either for bending machines or for folding machines.

We agree with you that the Gamma 333 is a multi-function composite machine under Section XVI, Note 3, but we disagree as to your conclusion on principal function. For the reasons that follow, we remain of the opinion that the crimping module performs the principal function. The wire and cables processed by the Gamma 333 are said to be installed in wire harnesses for use primarily in the automotive and home appliance industries. Wire harnesses incorporate multiple insulated electrical conductors fitted with connectors such as plugs, sockets, sleeves, terminals and other connectors. In an automotive application wiring harnesses permit voltage to flow from the vehicle’s battery which, for example, fires the spark plugs to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the cylinders of the engine, operates locking-unlocking mechanisms and anti-lock brakes, adjusts side view mirrors, etc. See HQ 960161, dated June 18, 1997. While cutting the wires to size and stripping off the insulation are necessary steps in the processing of the wire harness, it is clear that the contacts, terminals and connectors affixed to the ends of the wires and cables permit voltage to flow from the battery to activate these various applications. It logically follows, in our opinion, that the crimping of these end terminations to the wires or cables is the necessary final step in the processing that makes the wires and cables functional. Thus, we conclude that the crimping module in the Gamma 333 performs the principle function of this wire processing machine. In this regard, the term crimp is defined generally as “a: to form into a desired shapec: to pinch or press togetherin order to seal.” See www.britannica.com/dictionary. In addition, the terms crimp, close, and fold are synonymous terms. See www.thesaurus. reference.com.

We also disagree with your conclusion regarding the 8462 ENs. These list press bending machines among the machine tools of that heading that form or fold non-flat products. In view of our conclusion as to principal function, we will not discuss the various rulings you cite on composite machines under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, in which classification in heading 8479 resulted from an inability to determine principal function. Likewise, Chapter 84, Note 7, HTSUS, is not believed applicable here because, by its terms, that note is subject to Section XVI, Note 3, previously discussed. Moreover, the Gamma 333 performs multiple operations such as cutting, stripping, tinning, inkjet marking and crimping, which are its functions, but the apparatus has only one purpose, i.e., wire processing. Finally, you cite NY 859752, dated February 11, 1991, in which a machine which manually crimped electrical terminals onto the wires of a stator, was found to be classifiable in subheading 8479.89.9090 (now 8479.89.9897), HTSUSA. We note that the file has been destroyed as a result of the tragedy on September 11, 2001, and the machine’s operational literature is not available. We are therefore unable to discern whether the machine performed any other functions which may have been significant so as to liken it to the Gamma 333. Moreover, NY 859752 contained no legal analysis and no discussion either of heading 8462 or of Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, or principal function. Therefore, while NY 859752 is authority for classifying the machine at issue in that ruling, there is no indication that it was in all material respects similar to the Gamma 333. Therefore, the ruling is inconclusive as authority for classifying the Gamma 333.


Under the authority of GRI 1 and Section XVI, Note 3, the Gamma 333 is provided for in heading 8462. It is classifiable in subheading 8462.21.8085, HTSUSA, as other numerically controlled bending, folding, straightening or flattening machines.


NY L85349, dated June 24, 2005, is affirmed.


Gail A. Hamill
for Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division

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