CLA-2 R:C:M 957460 JAS

District Director of Customs
610 South Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60607

RE: PRD 3901-94-102222; Automatic Nut Feeder, Machine for Feeding Weld Nuts to Welding Machine; Machine for Separating, Aligning and Feeding Weld Nuts Handling Machinery, Heading 8428 Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3901-94-102222 filed against your classification of nut feeding machines from Japan. The entry under protest was liquidated on September 9, 1994, and this protest timely filed on September 22, 1994.


The machines in issue are AF-VMU vibrating-type S5-DL, S6-DL and H6-DL nut feeders which are machines for delivering weld nuts to a spot welding machine. The nut feeders and the welding machines are imported separately. Each nut feeder consists of a vibrator bowl and body, air hose, nut separator, control panel and step down transformer, all mounted on metal legs. In operation, an electromagnet vibrates the bowl which causes the nuts to align in proper position and creep up a spiral track in the bowl into a vinyl tube where they are transported by compressed air. The nut separator feeds single nuts through the tube to a feed unit atop the welding machine. The positioning, aligning and one-at-a-time sequencing of the weld nuts is essential to the safe operation of the spot welder. The feed unit utilizes a magnetized spindle to carry each nut to and position it on the welding electrode.

The nut feeders were entered under a provision in heading 8428 for handling machinery because they manipulate or handle the stock and effectively move it from one place to another. You determined that these machines do not perform a material handling function and liquidated the entry under a provision in heading 8479 for machines not specified or included elsewhere in chapter 84. - 2 -

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8428 Other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery (for example, elevators, escalators, conveyors, teleferics):

8428.90.00 Other machinery...1.6 percent

* * * *

8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84]; parts thereof:

8479.89 Other:

Other: 8479.89.95 Other...3.5 percent ISSUE:

Whether the nut feeders conform to the description in heading 8428.


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 Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized system. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, 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 notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The terms listed in heading 8428 are not defined in the text of the HTSUS or in the ENs. In such cases, we look to the common or commercial meaning of a tariff term which are presumed to be the same. Standard dictionary definitions are not helpful in defining the term handling as it relates to machinery of heading - 3 -

8428. Protestant cites certain heading 84.28 ENs at p. 1200 in support of the claimed classification. These notes describe lifting or handling devices used with furnaces, converters, rolling mills, etc., e.g., machines for inserting, handling or withdrawing the pieces being worked. Examples of these devices are coke oven discharging machines, ram or piston operated charging machines for converters, special lifting machines for raising the covers of metallurgical annealing or soaking pits, or for lifting out the ingots, ingot or forging manipulators, tilters, etc., and machines used with furnaces that utilize cylinders fitted with rams or pistons to insert or remove objects that are being treated in the furnace. The nut feeders in issue are not similar in function to these machines. We conclude that the nut feeders do not perform a material handling function of the type described in the cited ENs.

Heading 8479 is restricted to machinery having individual functions that is not otherwise excluded by a section or chapter note, and is not more specifically covered by any other heading in the HTSUS. Heading 84.79 ENs, at p. 1315, under (I) MACHINERY OF GENERAL USE, list mechanical distributors for continuous presentation of work pieces in the same alignment ready for the working operation, not specialised for any particular industry. The nut feeders have an individual function because there is no evidence that they rely on the spot welding machine for their operation. In addition, welding is a process and the term does not denote a particular industry. The nut feeders under protest are more akin by function to the description in the heading 84.79 ENs.


Under the authority of GRI 1, nut feeders the subject of this protest are provided for in heading 8479. They are classifiable in subheading 8479.89.95, 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 - 4 -

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John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division