Friday, 20 January 2017 21:40

Battery size, manufacturing defects caused Note7 fires: report Featured

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Samsung's official investigation into its Galaxy Note7 device, which began to explode and catch fire a month after release, has found that it was due to the irregular size of some batteries while others had manufacturing defects, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

The newspaper cited people who were familiar with the matter and said that Samsung had hired three companies that were experienced in quality control and analysis of supply chain mechanisms to aid in the investigations.

The company has announced that it will make an official announcement of the reason for the failure of the device on Monday, 23 June.

The Note7 was released in August last year. A month later, reports of exploding devices and resultant fires started to pour in.

The company then replaced some of the stock but when even these were reported to have similar defects, production was halted on 11 October.

Batteries for the Note7 were supplied by Samsung SDI, an affiliate, and Amperex Technology which is based in Hong Kong. Initially it was thought that only devices with the Samsung SDI batteries were prone to explode. This proved to be wrong.

The WSJ report said Samsung's official report on Monday would say that batteries from Samsung SDI were of irregular size and did not fit properly.

In the case of phones with batteries made by Amperex, a manufacturing issue, caused by an increase in the pace of production necessitated by the need for replacement phones to replace those which had exploded, was held to be the cause of the fires. The exact issue was not identified.

Samsung has created an eight-step process which encompasses more testing, inspections and manufacturing quality assurance steps to address any concerns that regulators have about problems in the future.

Apart from Samsung's own staff, personnel from the American firms UL and Exponent helped to find the battery issues, while Germany's TUV Rheinland looked at supply chain problems.

The Note7 fiasco is estimated to cost Samsung about US$5 billion but the company is due to announce its biggest quarterly profit on Tuesday.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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