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December 22, 2009
CATEGORY:     Classification
TARIFF NO.: 8466.93.5385
Ms. Simin Chen Newport Corporation 1791 Deere Avenue Irvine, CA 92606
RE:     The tariff classification of air bearing stages from France
Dear Ms. Chen:

In your letter dated November 23, 2009, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The two air bearing scribe stages in question, #Z1153A and #Z1149A, are designed for use in the SolaryX Thin-Film PV Laser Scribing System ("SolaryX"). They are used in the manufacture of solar panels. The SolaryX scribes lines on the solar panels so as to maximize the electric power of the panels. Stages vary according to customer specifications, e.g., in size and/or number of optics/lasers utilized. In their imported condition, the stages are machined to permit the location of domestically installed parts. Linear motors are mounted on the stage of polished flat granite at time of importation. Cameras, optics, aluminum panels for mounting optics, a Hippo laser and an enclosure are assembled to the imported stages at your US facility in order to complete the SolaryX.

When in operation, a silicon carbide carriage rides on a film of air above the granite. The linear motors pull the carriage along the granite. Compressed air is plumbed through the system and allowed to escape through the bottom of the carriage. As it escapes, it creates a film of air between the carriage and the granite. When the air flow is shut off, the film disappears and the carriage settles back onto the granite. Through the use of the air bearing stages, heavy glass substrate does not have to be moved during the laser scribing process. Instead the optics mounted to the air bearing scribe stages deliver the laser beams to their exact scribe positions. The SolaryX is capable of scribing most commonly used thin-film PV materials deposited on glass substrates.

In your letter, you propose classifying the air bearing scribe stages in subheading 8479.90.9496, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: Parts: Other…Other. In order to be considered for classification in subheading 8479.90.9496, HTSUS, an article must be a component of a machine which is itself classified in heading 8479, HTSUS. In this case, the air-bearing scribe stages are parts of the SolaryX Thin-Film PV Laser Scribing System. These machines are classified in subheading 8456.10.8000, HTSUS, which provides for Machine tools for working any material by removal of material, by laser or other light or photon beam, ultrasonic, electro-discharge, electro-chemical, electron-beam, ionic-beam or plasma arc processes: Operated by laser or other light or photon beam processes: Other. Thus, as the stages in question are not parts of machines of heading 8479, they themselves cannot be classified in subheading 8479.90.9496, HTSUS.

The applicable subheading for the two air bearing scribe stages, #Z1153A and #Z1149A, will be 8466.93.5385, HTSUS, which provides for Parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of headings 8456 to 8465, including work or tool holders, self-opening dieheads, dividing heads and other special attachments for machine tools; tool holders for any type of tool for working in the hand: Other: For machines of headings 8456 to 8461: Other: Other…Other. The rate of duty will be 4.7 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 World Wide Web at

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 Patricia O’Donnell at (646) 733-3011.

Sincerely, Robert B. Swierupski Director National Commodity Specialist Division