CLA-2 OT:RR:CTF:TCM H008629 HkP
Mr. Mark Galewski
Assistant Vice President, Finance
8161 U.S. Route 42 North
Plain City, Ohio 43064
RE: Classification of temperature controls and an HVAC electronic control
Dear Mr. Galewski:
This is in response to your request, received by the National Commodity Specialist Division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") on February 13, 2007, in which you requested a binding ruling on behalf of Invensys Controls. At issue is the proper classification of two temperature cold controls and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning ("HVAC") electronic control under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS"). Your request, which included schematic drawings and samples, was forwarded to this office for a response. We note that your previous request in December 2006 for a binding ruling was returned to you with a request for further information.
In reaching our decision we have also taken into consideration additional information provided by you to this office in a teleconference on August 1, 2007.
Invensys Controls manufacturers and markets the products at issue under the brand name "Ranco Incorporated". Under consideration are two temperature cold controls and one HVAC electronic control (collectively, "temperature controllers"), identified as:
Part no. A10-4492-000 Temperature cold control (sample provided)
Part no. A22-5120-000 Temperature cold control
Part no. E61-300000-ICP HVAC electronic control (sample provided)
A sample was also provided of part no. A22-1272-000, merchandise that is not at issue.
According to the submitted information, the A22 series, to which part no. A10-4492-000 and part no. A22-5120-000 belong, is comprised of refrigerator constant differential thermostats1 designed to switch electrical loads such as contactors, relays, fans, and motors in HVAC and commercial applications in response to changes in sensed temperatures.2 The A22 series is rated as follows: Cooling - FLA 20 amps @120/240 VAC, Heating - NIA 25 amps @ 120/240V AC.
The instruction sheet for "A22 Adaptable Cold Control" devices states that the function of an A22 control is to cycle a SPST (a single pole switch throw) or SPDT (single pole double throw) switch in response to changes of temperature. The temperature sensing element consists of a limited vapor pressure charge bellows3 assembly with a temperature sensing capillary tube. The assembly is filled with a liquid or vapor charge of refrigerant selected for the specific thermostat application. The charge is such that there is always some liquid refrigerant in the system within the operating temperature range of the thermostat. At operating temperatures the bellows pressure exceeds atmospheric pressure. The liquid is required to provide the boiling and condensing surface with the necessary pressure changes for the proper operation of the thermostat mechanism.
The A10 series is apparently similar to the A22 series but is used in applications where amperage requirements do not exceed 16 amps @ 120/240 VAC. In addition, the A10 series only cycles a SPST switch.
Part no. E61-300000 is a printed circuit board ("PCB"), populated with a thermistor and other components, for an HVAC electronic control device. A thermistor is, generally speaking, a temperature sensitive electrical resistor, the resistance of which falls as temperature rises. A "resistor" is "a passive device which impedes the flow of an electric current, used to develop a voltage drop across itself or to limit current flow."4 According to Ranco's website (www.invensyscontrols.com), the applications for electronic controls are almost limitless and include: room air conditioners, packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC), humidifiers/ dehumidifiers, electronic air clearers, heat pump defrost controls, and thermostats for a broad range of applications.
The product specification sheet for part no. E61-300000 explains that this device is a thermostat with a low voltage input capable of switching high-voltage high-current loads at a specified temperature. You have explained that this control is used in residential heat pump systems which have an indoor and outdoor unit. The control is installed in the outdoor unit and is a part of the electrical circuit that includes the fan and the motor, and acts as a "switch" for the fan. It operates by continuously monitoring the outside temperature and energizing or de-energizing a relay5 which changes the speed of the fan from "high" to "low", or vice versa, depending on the temperature sensed. According to the information provided, the electronic control has a one-time selectable tab connected to the fan and motor circuit that may be used to set the temperature at which the fan is triggered to operate at low or high speed. An unbroken tab indicates that the desired temperature is set at 88°F while a broken tab means that the temperature is set at 80°F. The decision of whether to break the tab is usually made on installation or on a customer's production line.
What is the proper classification of the temperature control devices?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
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 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
9032 Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof:
For air conditioning, refrigeration or heating systems:
* * *
9032.10.0060 Other .....
* * *
Other instruments and apparatus:
* * *
* * *
9032.89.60 Other .....
Control instruments for air conditioning, refrigeration or heating systems
* * *
9032.89.6025 Other .....
Note 7 to Chapter 90, HTSUS, provides:
Heading 9032 applies only to:
(a) Instruments and apparatus for automatically controlling the flow, level, pressure or other variables of liquids or gases, or for automatically controlling temperature, whether or not their operation depends on an electrical phenomenon which varies according to the factor to be automatically controlled, which are designed to bring this factor to, and maintain it at, a desired value, stabilized against disturbances, by constantly or periodically measuring its actual value; and
(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, which are designed to bring this factor to, and maintain it at, a desired value, stabilized against disturbances, by constantly or periodically measuring its actual value.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS at the international level. While not legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs 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.
Note 7(a) provides for, among other things, instruments and apparatus for automatically controlling temperature. EN 90.32(I) provides:
Automatic control apparatus for liquids or gases and apparatus for automatically controlling temperature form part of complete automatic control systems and consist essentially of the following devices:
(A) A device for measuring the variable to be controlled (pressure or level in a tank, temperature in a room, etc.); in some cases, a simple device which is sensitive to changes in the variable (metal or bi-metal rod, chamber or bellows containing an expanded liquid, float, etc.) may be used instead of a measuring device.
(B) A control device which compares the measured value with the desired value and actuates the device described in (C) below accordingly.
(C) A starting, stopping or operating device.
Apparatus for automatically controlling ... temperature, within the meaning of Note 7(a) to this Chapter, consists of these three devices forming a single entity or in accordance with Note 3 to this Chapter, a functional unit.
Some instruments and apparatus do not incorporate devices which compare the measured value with the desired value. They are directly activated by means of a switch, e.g., when the predetermined value is reached.
* * *
This group includes:
* * *
(D) Thermostats are used for automatically controlling temperature. The main components of a thermostat are:
(1) An element sensitive to changes in temperature whose action may depend on:
(a) The change in the shape of a bi-metal strip (straight, U or spiral shaped, etc).
* * *
(2) A drum, disc or other device for pre-setting the desired temperature.
(3) A triggering or operating device. ...
Thermostats are used, in particular, for controlling temperature in houses or other buildings ... cold storage installations ... and other industrial or laboratory equipment.
Note 7(b) pertains, in relevant part, to automatic regulators of electrical quantities. EN 90.32(II) explains, in relevant 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 is at, a desired value, stabilised against any disturbances, by constantly or periodically measuring its actual value. They consist essentially of the following devices:
(A) A measuring device ... which determines the actual value of the variable to be controlled and converts it into a proportional electrical signal.
(B) An electrical control device which compares the measured value with the desired value and gives a signal (generally in the form of a modulated current).
(C) A starting, stopping or operating device (generally, contacts, switches or circuit breakers, reversing switches or, sometimes, relay switches) which supplies current to an actuator in accordance with the signal received from the control device.
An automatic regulator within the meaning of Note 7(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.
* * *
Electronic regulators function on a strictly electrical principle, and not electro-magnetically. Their characteristic features are semiconductors (transistors) or integrated circuits.
These regulators are used not only for electrical quantities, such as voltage, amperage, frequency and power, but also for other quantities such as ... temperature.
Temperature cold controls; part nos. A10-4492-000 and A22-5120-000
Both Note 7(a) and Note 7(b) to Chapter 90 can be said to describe the general purpose of the temperature cold controls at issue, that is, to automatically control temperature/a non-electrical quantity. However, when we consider the description of the workings of the controllers in the context of the explanations provided by EN 90.32, we conclude that Note 7(a) describes the electrical workings of the controllers while Note 7(b) does not. Per the explanation provided by EN 90.32(I), the operation of the controllers does not depend on an electrical phenomenon. Further, the controllers: (1) contain a vapor pressure charge bellows assembly with capillary tube sensor that is sensitive to changes in the variable to be measured, that is, temperature; (2) use the bellows assembly along with the preset differentials to compare the measured temperature with the desired temperature and to switch electrical loads accordingly; and, (3) contain switch terminals that operate based on the expansion and contraction of the bellows.
We also find that these controllers contain the main components of thermostats, as they are described by EN 90.32(I). They contain: (1) an element sensitive to changes in temperature, the action of which depends on the vapor pressure of a liquid; (2) have preset differentials for obtaining a desired temperature; and (3) switches that operate contactors, relays, fans, and motors which regulate temperature. Based on these facts, we find that part no. A10-4492-000 and part no. A22-5120-000 are classified in heading 9032, HTSUS, as automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus. They are provided for as thermostats of subheading 9032.10.0060, HTSUSA.
Part no. E61-300000; electronic control
After considering the workings of the electronic control in the context of the explanations provided by EN 90.32, we conclude that Note 7(b) to Chapter 90 describes the device at issue and that Note 7(a) does not, because this device automatically regulates electrical quantities. Specifically, the thermistor on the PCB acts as: (1) a measuring device which determines the actual value of the variable to be controlled (temperature) and converts it into a proportional electrical signal (electrical resistance), (2) an electrical control device which compares the measured value with the desired value and gives a signal (by energizing or de-energizing a relay), and (3) an operating device (a relay) which supplies current to an actuator (the fan) in accordance with the signal received from the control device, that is, the level of resistance generated by the thermistor.
Based on all of the foregoing, we find that the electronic control at issue is provided for as "other instruments and apparatus" of heading 9032, HTSUS.
By application of GRI 1 and Legal Note 7(a) to Chapter 90, we find that the A10-4492-000 and A22-5120-000 temperature cold controls are classified under heading 9032, HTSUS. They are specifically provided for in subheading 9032.10.0060, HTSUSA, which provides for: "Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof: Thermostats: For air conditioning, refrigeration or heating systems: Other." The column one, general rate of duty is 1.7% ad valorem.
By application of GRI 1 and Legal Note 7(b) to Chapter 90, we find that the E61-300000-ICP electronic control is classified under heading 9032, HTSUS. It is specifically provided for in subheading 9032.89.6025, HTSUSA, which provides for: "Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof: Other instruments and apparatus: Other: Other:
Control instruments for air conditioning, refrigeration or heating systems: Other." The column one, general rate of duty is 1.7% ad valorem.
Gail A. Hamill, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch
1 In general, in constant differential thermostats the difference between "on" and "off" temperature is essentially the same at all temperature settings. If a thermostat has a temperature differential of 9°F when set in the cold temperature position, the differential will be slightly less than 9°F when it is set in the warm temperature position.
2 According to the "A22 Adaptable Cold Control" instruction sheet, A22 devices have three switch terminals: switch 1 opens when temperature rises and closes when the temperature drops, and switch 3 closes when the temperature rises and opens when the temperature drops. Switch 2 is a common switch terminal that works with both switch 1 and switch 3.
3 Bellows: "An instrument or machine that by alternate expansion and contraction draws in air through a valve or orifice and expels it through a tube". Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.
4 Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. (1989), available at http://dictionary.oed.com.
5 An electromagnetic device for remote or automatic control that is actuated by variation in conditions of an electric circuit and that operates in turn other devices (as switches) in the same or a different circuit." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.