Mr. Jason E. Carrel
Foreign Trade Classification Manager
Lam Research Corporation
4650 Cushing Parkway
Fremont, CA 94538
RE: The tariff classification of an insulating sleeve, a coupling ring, and a base ring from an unspecified country of origin
Dear Mr. Carrel:
In your letter dated August 5, 2008, you requested a tariff classification ruling.
The articles in question are referred to as “fused quartzware.” They are for use in the etch chamber of a 2300 Exelan Flex process module. The 2300 Exelan Flex is a tool for dielectric plasma etching of wafers for the manufacture of semiconductor devices.
The first item is an insulating sleeve composed of fused quartz. The insulating sleeve is designed to encase the DC Bias pick-up pin in the plasma etch chamber. The insulating sleeve is a stepped tubular shaped sleeve standing .365 inches in height and .394 inches at its greatest diameter. The insulating sleeve’s principal function is to provide an electrical insulation between the DC BIAS pin and the Hot Edge Ring (a separate ring not at issue in this ruling).
The second item concerned is a coupling ring. The coupling ring is a large ring also composed of fused quartz with a thickness of .394 inches and an outer diameter of 13.240 inches. It is designed to function as a dielectric by isolating the edge of the wafer-holding electrostatic chuck from a charged ionic current generated within plasma inside an etch chamber. The ring is placed on top of the baseplate of the electrostatic chuck and supports a silicon ring. The dielectric properties of the coupling ring and conductive silicon ring are used to shape the electric field within the chamber. Through precise contouring and sizing of these rings, the electric field in the chamber is controlled causing plasma ions to accelerate, with the intent of directing these ions at an angle perpendicular to the semiconductor wafer. In this way, an electric current flows from the plasma to the wafer.
The third item concerned is a base ring. The base ring is a large ring also composed of fused quartz with a thickness of 1.1 inches and an outer diameter of 20.00 inches. It is designed to electrically isolate the wafer-holding chuck from the adjacent grounded surface. The chuck is RF powered so that it can act as an electrode for creation of plasma. The base ring acts to fix this RF energy while insulating a low-energy external ground ring from the RF current and from ionic bombardment which is generated within the etch chamber.
In your letter, you propose classifying the goods in subheading 8486.90.0000, HTSUS, which provides for parts and accessories for machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or principally for the manufacture of semiconductor boules or wafers, semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits or flat panel displays; machines and apparatus specified in Note 9(C) to this chapter. This office does not dispute the fact that the goods are used in machines of a kind designed solely or principally for use in the manufacture of semiconductor devices, i.e., a wafer etch chamber. However, parts must be classified in accordance with all the relevant section and chapter notes.
Explanatory Note (E) Parts and Accessories to Section XVI, heading 84.86 reads, in pertinent part,
Subject to the general provisions regarding the classification of parts (see the General Explanatory Note to Section XVI), the heading includes parts and accessories for the machines and apparatus of this heading. … (Emphasis in original)
General Explanatory Note to Section XVI, Note (II) Parts (Section Note 2) reads, in part,
The above rules do not apply to parts which in themselves constitute an article covered by a heading of this Section (other than headings 84.87 and 85.48); these are in all cases classified in their own appropriate heading even if specially designed to work as part of a specific machine.
You cite note 9(D) to Chapter 84 as a basis for your classification proposal. Note 9(D) to Chapter 84 reads:
Subject to Note 1 to Section XVI and Note 1 to Chapter 84, machines and apparatus answering to the description in heading 8486 are to be classified in that heading and in no other heading of the tariff schedule.
Note 9(D) only refers to ‘machines and apparatus” – not parts or accessories. The key terms to consider here are “machine” and “apparatus”. Note 5 to Section XVI states that “For the purposes of these notes, the expression “machine” means any machine, machinery, plant, equipment, apparatus or appliance cited in the headings of chapter 84 or 85.’ None of the goods in question make up a machine or an appliance. The goods are components of a machine but do not comprise a machine in and of themselves. As such, note 9(D) cannot be claimed as a basis for classification in subheading 8486.90.0000, HTSUS. Thus, the goods are classifiable in accordance with note 2 to Section XVI.
Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUS, states:Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8487, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;
Although the goods are specifically designed to work as parts of a machine of heading 8486, they are parts which in themselves constitute articles covered by a heading of Chapter 85 and, as such, will be classified in their own appropriate heading. Thus, classification in subheading 8486.90.0000, HTSUS, is precluded.
The applicable subheading for the insulating sleeve, coupling ring, and base ring will be 8547.90.0010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Insulating fittings for electrical machines, appliances or equipment…: Other: Other insulating fittings.” The general rate of duty will be 4.6%.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
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 Steve Pollichino at (646) 733-3008.
Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division