After several months of in-depth investigations, Samsung Electronics has finally announced the cause of the Galaxy Note7 incidents and has developed new measures to prevent a recurrence of these issues during a press conference held in Seoul, Korea.
Samsung investigated all factors of the Galaxy Note7 which includes hardware, software, design, manufacturing process and more. Samsung said that about 700 of their engineers examined over 200,000 Note7 units and 30,000 batteries. According to Samsung’s report, most of the issues were caused because of the battery itself. The batteries were created by two manufacturers: Samsung SDI and Hong Kong-based Amperex Technology. It's confirmed that both the batteries were flawed and prone to failure.
The Samsung SDI-batteries were flawed due to the deformations at the upper corners and thin internal separators. This led to the negative electrode to be deflected in the upper right corner of the battery. We can clearly see that the deformations are due to the Galaxy Note7’s curved design. While the curved design of the Galaxy Note7 is impressive, the company failed to take notice of the impact that it could cause to the battery, so we are hoping that Samsung develops a new battery design that goes well with slim and curved designs for their future smartphones.
In the case of the Amperex-made batteries, high welding burrs on the positive electrode forced in the penetration of the insulation tape and the separator (used to separate the positive and negative electrode). This resulted in both the electrodes get in direct contact with each other. There were even cases that many Note7 batteries didn’t have the insulation tape.
DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, has shared detailed results of the investigation and expressed his sincere apology and gratitude to Galaxy Note7 customers, mobile operators, retail and distribution partners and business partners for their patience and continued support. Koh was joined by executives from UL, Exponent and TUV Rheinland, leading independent industry groups that conducted their own investigation into various aspects of the Galaxy Note7 incidents.
Based on what the company learned from the investigation, Samsung implemented a broad range of internal quality and safety processes to further enhance product safety including additional protocols such as the multi-layer safety measures and 8-Point Battery Safety Check. Samsung also formed a Battery Advisory Group of external advisers, academic and research experts to ensure it maintains a clear and objective perspective on battery safety and innovation. Battery Advisory Group members include:
“For the last several months, together with independent industry expert organizations, we conducted thorough investigation to find cause to the Galaxy Note7 incidents.” Koh said, “Today, more than ever, we are committed to earning the trust of our customers through innovation that redefines what is possible in safety, and as a gateway to unlimited possibilities and incredible new experiences.”
To win the trust of its customers, and to ensure that these issues never occur again, Samsung has developed a new 8-point safety check protocol to ensure that the batteries are safe to use. The new test includes Durability Test, Visual Inspection, X-Ray, Charge and Discharge Test, TVOC Test, Disassembly Test, Accelerated Usage Test, and OVC Test.
Samsung will also include their new devices with multi-layer safety measures such as improved safety standards for design and battery materials, new brackets around the battery for protection, and new software algorithms to keep track of battery charging temperature, charging current and charging duration.
We certainly hope that this has taught an important lesson for not only Samsung, but for all electronics consumer manufacturers, to keep an eye on the battery while designing a smartphone, a tablet, a smartwatch, or any portable gadget for that matter.