Mr. Derek Maidlow
Emerson Process Management
8301 Cameron Rd.
Austim, TX 78754-3895
RE: The tariff classification of a plant process control system from an unspecified country.
Dear Mr. Maidlow:
In your letter dated July 30, 2004, on behalf of your client Fisher-Rosemount Systems Inc. you requested a tariff classification ruling.
The merchandise under consideration is the Delta V™ Process Control System. A non-working prototype of the controller rack was submitted with your ruling request and will be returned to you. The Delta V™ Process Control System will vary depending on customer requirements to meet specific plant and process control needs.
The principle function of the Delta V™ Process Control System is to serve as a process automation system and monitor the components in industrial plant processing/manufacturing through process control instruments that enable an industrial plant to operate and function efficiently. As per Tech Encyclopedia, www.techweb.com/encyclopedia, process control is “The automated control of a process. Process control is used extensively in oil refining, chemical processing, electrical generation and the food and beverage industries where the creation of a product is based on a continuous series of processes being applied to raw material. Process control systems use analog sensors to monitor real-world signals and digital computers to do the analysis and controlling. It makes extensive use of analog/digital and digital/analog conversion.”
The basic Delta V™ Process Control System consists of (1) workstation hardware in the form of a personal computer (PC) operating with Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Ethernet card, and various software applications; (2) Delta V™ controller rack with MD Controller Module, various I/O Modules, Interface Modules, Power Supply Module, and terminal blocks; (3) Ethernet Switch or Hub and cabling.
When imported as a complete system, the Delta V™ Process Control System is a functional unit under Section XVI, Note 4. The individual components contribute together to the clearly defined function of electric control. In your ruling request you suggested that the Delta V™ Process Control System be classified under heading 8517. However, this is a control system and not a telecommunications system. While the system does have certain communications functions, these functions are found to be subsidiary to the principal function of electric control.
You also requested a classification for the Delta V™ MD Controller and I/O Modules imported individually. The Delta V™ MD Controller Module appears to consist of several printed circuit assemblies (PCAs) enclosed within a plastic housing that is inserted into the controller rack. It has memory for large batch control and other memory-intensive control applications. This module provides communication and control between the field devices and the other nodes on the control network. The controller manages all control activities for the I/O interface channels. It also manages all communication functions for the system. The MD Controller can identify all process control field instruments and I/O channels located on the network system. The controller is designed for executing control strategy. Information from an input channel is received, control strategy applied, and data sent to an output channel for execution.
The applicable subheading for a complete Delta V™ Process Control System will be 8537.10.9070, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Boards, panels, consoles…, and other bases, …, for electric control or the distribution of electricity, …: For a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V: Other: Other: Other." The general rate of duty will be 2.7 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for a complete Delta V™ MD Controller Module will be 8538.90.8080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of heading 8535, 8536 or 8537: Other: Other: Other: Other: Other.” The general rate of duty will be 3.5 percent ad valorem.
Regarding the classification of the Delta V™ I/O Modules, we are returning your request for this item because we need additional information. Please submit the following:
How many different I/O Modules are there? Provide specific information regarding each one as follows:
1 - Where is the I/O Module utilized?
2 - What is the specific function or functions of the I/O Module?
3 - Does the I/O Module function independently of the other modules
within the Delta V™ controller rack or are each of the modules codependent on one another?
4 - Your letter states that the I/O Module is a modular system
designed to be installed within the industrial plant and close to the plant's operating field devices. The principle function of an I/O Module is to serve as a process control data relay between the plant's field devices and the Delta V™ MD Controller.
What are the "plant's operating field devices" (list all types)?
What modules are connected to the “field devices”?
Explain how the MD Module functions as a "process control data relay"?
Where are the "plant's field devices" located in relation to the Delta V™ MD Controller, the I/O modules and the plant equipment?
How far in distance are the "plant's field devices" physically located from the physical location of the Delta V™ MD Controller?
What is the I/O Module doing with or for the "plant's field devices"?
5 - Your letter states that the Delta V™ system communicates with not
only the industrial automation system but with HART and FOUNDATION fieldbus devices in order to allow easy integration with enterprise planning systems and personal communications devices such as wireless phones, pagers, and PDAs.
What are the "enterprise planning systems"?
What role does the I/O Module(s), itself/themselves, play in communicating with wireless phones, pagers, and PDAs? If the I/O Module(s), itself/themselves, does play a role in communicating with wireless phones, pagers, and PDAs, how often does this occur? Is this type of communication one of its main functions? Please explain fully.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Eileen S. Kaplan at 646-733-3016.
Robert B. Swierupski