CLA-2 RR:CR:GC W967417 RSD
Gern F. Scott
Senior Consultant, Trade and Regulatory Services
PBB Global Logistics
670 Young Street
Tonawanda, New York 14150
RE: Revocation of NY K88338 regarding the classification of motor support bearings, felt wicks and oil filler caps that are used to support traction motors on diesel railroad locomotives
Dear Mr. Scott:
This is in response to your letter dated October 21, 2004, on behalf of Miller Felpax Corporation requesting reconsideration of NY K88338 dated August 23, 2004, which concerned the classification of motor support bearings, felt wick lubricators and oil filler caps that are used on diesel railway locomotive cars under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule United States (HTSUS).
The merchandise under consideration consists of three items that are used in diesel railway locomotive vehicles. The three items are motor support bearings, felt wick lubricators, and oil filler caps. All three items work together in the traction motor of railway locomotive cars. The motor support bearings are split bearings used to support the weight of the traction motor on the locomotive drive. The felt wick lubricator is an oil reservoir with a spring loading device that keeps the felt wick in contact with the wheel axle. The oil filler cap is predominately made of steel with a plastic outer cap. It has a central metal probe with a spring surrounding the probe.
A traction motor suspension bearing is a split-sleeve bearing, normally 200 mm to 230 mm in diameter and 280 mm long. The bearing surface is babbit-cast on brass supporting half sleeves. Typical radial and lateral bearing clearance are 0.3-1.2 mm and 1.6-5 mm, respectively. Two of these bearings, one each at the commutator and pinion end, support the weight of the traction motor on the locomotive drive axle. The traction motor support bearings are lubricated by a felt wick assembly, which is typically 25 mm thick by 150 mm wide, with one end held against the axle surface by spring pressure and the opposite end immersed up to 100 mm deep in a 5 liter capacity oil reservoir.
Oil is drawn up from the oil reservoir through the wick to the axle surface by capillary action. The traction motor has three suspension mounts on the locomotive. Two are provided by the support bearings, which connect one side of the traction motor to the wheel axle. The third point is provided by two lugs on the motor frame that contact the top and bottom of the nose support assembly on the locomotive frame.
The nose suspension arrests the upward or downward movement of the motor depending on the direction of rotation when power is applied. The support bearings are of a split “hour glass” design. A half of each bearing assembly is inserted in the motor frame while the mating half is installed in the support in the support bearing cap. Both halves are machined together and are identified by a serial number. The bearings are matched and must be kept and installed together. The oil filler cap is predominantly made of steel with a plastic outer cap. It has a central metal probe with the spring surrounding the probe. There is a U.S. patent on these products.
In NY K88338 dated August 23, 2004, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) determined that the items under consideration were classified in subheading 8302.49.60 HTSUS, as: “Base metal mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for furniture, doors, staircases, windows, blinds, coachwork, saddlery, trunks, chests, caskets or the like; base metal hat racks, hat-pegs, brackets and similar fixtures; castors with mountings of base metal; automatic door closers of base metal; and base metal parts thereof: Other mountings, fittings and similar articles, and parts thereof: Other mountings: Other: Other: Of iron or steel, of aluminum or of zinc.”
Whether the motor support bearings, felt wick lubricators and oil filler caps are classified in heading 8302, HTSUS, as other mounting fittings and similar articles, or in heading 8607, HTSUS, as parts of railway locomotives, or in heading 8483, HTSUS, as plain shaft bearings?
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 may then be applied.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
8302 Base metal mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable
for furniture, doors, staircases, windows, blinds, coachwork,
saddlery, trunks, chests, caskets or the like; base metal hat racks,
hat-pegs, brackets and similar fixtures; castors with mountings of
base metal; automatic door closers of base metal; and base metal
8302.49.60 Of iron or steel, of aluminum or of zinc…
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
8483 Transmission shafts (including camshafts and crankshafts) and cranks;
bearing housings, housed bearings and plain shaft bearings; gears
and gearing; ball or roller screws; gear boxes and other speed changers, including torque converters; flywheels and pulleys, including pulley blocks; clutches and shaft coupling (including universal joints);
8483.30 Bearing housings; plain shaft bearings:
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
8607 Parts of railway or tramway locomotives or rolling stock:
8607.91.00 Of locomotives…
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
When interpreting and implementing the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, while neither legally binding nor dispositive, provide a guiding
commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. CBP believes the ENs should always be consulted. See, T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
EN 83.02 provides in pertinent part:
This heading covers general purpose classes of base metal accessory fittings and mountings, such as are used largely on furniture, doors, windows, coachwork, etc. Goods within such general classes remain in this heading even if they are designed for particular uses (e.g., door handles or hinges for automobiles). The heading does not, however, extend to goods forming an essential part of the structure of the article, such as window frames or swivel devices for revolving chairs.
The heading covers:
(C) Mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for motor vehicles (e.g. motor cars, lorries or motor coaches) not being parts or accessories of Section XVII. For example: made up ornamental beading strips; foot rests; grip bars, rails and handles; fittings for blinds (rods, brackets, fastening fittings, spring mechanisms, etc.); interior luggage racks; window opening mechanisms; specialised ash trays; tail-board fastening fittings.
Because neither the HTSUS nor the ENs define the terms mountings and fittings, we have looked at standard dictionary definitions for these terms to determine whether the diesel motor support bearings are classifiable in heading 8302, HTSUS. Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, 1974 defines the word fitting as:
…2. a small part used to join, adjust, or adapt other parts, as in a system of pipes 3. [pl.] the fixtures, furnishings, or decoration of a house, office, automobile, etc.
The web site Dictionary.com defines the word mounting when used as a noun as:
1. The act or manner of mounting. 2. A means of conveyance, such as a horse, on which to ride. 3. An opportunity to ride a horse in a race. 4. An object to which another is affixed or on which another is placed for accessibility, display, or use, especially:
a. A glass slide for use with a microscope.
b. A hinge used to fasten stamps in an album.
c. A setting for a jewel.
d. An undercarriage or stand on which a device rests while in service.
Based on these definitions for the terms mountings and fittings, we find that the motor support bearings for railroad cars under consideration cannot be characterized as either a fitting or a mounting that would be classified in heading 8302, HTSUS. Accordingly, we look at the alternative heading of 8483, HTSUS.
EN 84.83 describes bearing housings and plain shaft bearings as:
(B) BEARING HOUSINGS AND PLAIN SHAFT BEARINGS
On the other hand plain shaft bearings are classified in this heading even if they are presented without housings. They consist of rings of anti-friction metal or other material (e.g., sintered metal or plastics). They may be in one piece or in several pieces clamped together, and form a smooth bearing in which a shaft or axle turns.
The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology defines the term anti-friction bearing as: “A machine element that permits free motion between moving and fixed parts. Anti-friction bearings are essential to mechanized equipment: they hold or guide moving machine parts and minimize friction and wear.”
The web site http://www.micropat.com/classdef/CLSDEF/class384/s000000.html
gives further guidance by explaining that bearings are devices:
designed for general use, where one element continuously bears the weight of another, either suspended therefrom, or imposed thereon, and wherein there is either linear motion (e.g., cross head) rotary motion (e.g., of a shaft or axle), or oscillating movement (e.g. a lever) between the two elements. The bearings may have either sliding, or rolling contact with the supported member.
The class includes (a) supports for bearings where such supports are
specially formed to receive, and are placed in combination with, bearings, and when not limited to any classified art; (b) antifriction means, as balls, or rollers, designed to receive a rotating shaft, or to be used in connection with a pivoted, sliding, or rotary element; and (c) lubricating devices wherein any of the above bearings are modified for receiving and supplying lubricant.
The web site http://www.grindwellnorton.co.in/UsefulInfo/ui__bearing.htm indicates:
Bearings are “the Essential items” required to reduce or eliminate
the friction between moving parts.
* * *
Bearings can be used to provide sliding contact between mating
parts or rolling contact between the mating parts. Hence
broadly the bearing can be classified into two main types:
Plain Bearings: Used to minimize “friction” by providing
sliding contact between mating parts.
Rolling Contact Bearings: Used to minimize “friction” by providing
rolling contact between mating parts.
Plain bearings operate on the principle of Boundary layer lubrication.
The load carrying capacity of plain bearings depends on the type of
film which is formed between the mating surfaces.
The web site Engineering.com explains that:
The relative motions between the mating surfaces of a plain bearing
may take place in the following ways:
1. As pure sliding with any lubricating medium between the moving surfaces.
2. With hydrodynamic lubrication where a film buildup of lubricating medium is produced.
3. With hydrostatic lubrication where a lubricating medium is introduced under pressure between the moving surfaces.
4. With a combination of hydrodynamic and hydrostatic lubrication.
Based on the information available, we conclude that the motor support bearings under consideration are split-sleeve bearings used on the commutator and pinion end of a traction motor of a railway locomotive. The traction motor bearings are sliding bearings that rely on an oil film rather than rolling elements, such as metal balls, to mediate against the friction associated with a rotating shaft. Sliding type bearings are provided for as plain shaft bearings in heading 8483, HTSUS.
We note that although the motor support bearings are used in railroad locomotive cars, they are excluded from being classified in heading 8607, HTSUS, as parts of railroad cars under Note 2(e) to Section XVII which states that: “The expressions ‘parts’ and ‘parts and accessories’ do not apply to the following articles, whether or not they are identifiable as for the goods of this section:
(e) Machines or apparatus of heading 8401 to 8479 or parts thereof; articles of heading 8481 or 8482 or, provided they constitute integral parts of engines or motors, articles of heading 8483;
The motor support bearings are necessary for the traction motor to perform its function in the railway locomotives, and they are classifiable in heading 8483, HTSUS, as plain shaft bearings. Thus, we conclude that they are integral parts of the traction motors, and under Note 2(e), to Section XVII, they are excluded from being classified in heading 8607, HTSUS.
In addition to the motor support bearings, the merchandise under consideration includes two other items, felt wick lubricators and oil filler caps. It is our understanding that the three parts work together in coordinated manner. The felt wick lubricator supplies the lubrication of the traction motor support bearing, and oil filler cap serves as the storage device of the lubricant that the traction motor support bearing slides upon.
GRI 3 states that: “[w]hen by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings classification shall be effected as follows”:
(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.
The relevant part of the ENs states that for purposes of Rule 3 the term “goods put up in sets for retail sale” means goods which: (a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and, (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).
Applying these criteria to the three items, the traction motor support bearings, felt wick lubricators, and oil filler caps, we find that these articles meet each of the three requirements for “sets” stated in the ENs. As noted above, the bearing is prima facie classifiable in heading 8483, HTSUS, as a plain shaft bearing. The felt wick lubricator is prima facie classifiable in heading 5602, HTSUS, as felt, and the oil filler cap, which is mostly made of steel, is prima facie classifiable in heading 7326, HTSUS, as other articles of iron or steel. In providing the lubricant on which the traction motor support bearing slides, the felt wick and oil filler cap work with the traction motor support bearing so that the three items can effectively function together to carry out the specific activity of supporting and reducing friction in the traction motor of a railroad locomotive.
We recognize that the bearing kits are not sold directly to consumers,. However, in HQ 083968 dated July 6, 1989, CBP considered fuel modifications kits delivered without repacking to car dealers, who as the ultimate consumers, installed the components of the kits on recalled cars without charge to the owners. We noted that because the items were put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users they were sets. We pointed out that there is no requirement that sets actually be sold at retail. In this case, the motor support bearing, felt wick lubricators and oil filler caps are packaged together and are sold directly to users who will install these items into the traction motor of a railroad locomotive without being repackaged. Thus, we conclude that the three items under consideration constitute a set. Accordingly, we must then determine which of the three items imparts the essential character to the set.
The ENs indicate that essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. In regard to the three items in the set, the bearing has a far greater bulk, weight and value than the two other components. The bearings also play the principal role in reducing friction and supporting the traction motor of a railroad locomotive. Therefore, of the three components, we conclude that the motor support bearing imparts the essential character to the set. As such, the three items (the motor support bearings, the felt lubricators and the oil filler caps) are classified as a set in the same heading as the motor support bearing, heading 8483, HTSUS, as bearing housings, housed bearings and plain shaft bearings.
By application of GRI 3(b), the traction motor support bearings for railroad locomotives, felt wick lubricators, and oil filler caps are classified as a set based on the essential character of the set being the bearing in heading 8483, HTSUS. It is provided for in subheading 8483.30.80, HTSUS, as “[t]ransmission shafts (including camshafts and crankshafts) and cranks; bearing housings, housed bearings and plain shaft bearings; gears and gearing; ball or roller screws; gear boxes and other speed changers, including torque converters; flywheels and pulleys, including pulley blocks; clutches and shaft coupling (including universal joints); parts thereof: Bearing housings; plain shaft bearings: Other…” with a column one, general rate of duty of 4.5 percent ad valorem.
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 the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY K88338 dated August 23, 2004 is revoked.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division