The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was launched back in August and it managed to get a record number of pre-orders and sales. However it was cut short when a manufacturing problem with the Note 7 came into light. Random Note 7’s started catching on fire and some were also exploding.
Samsung soon issued a recall so that they can be replaced. However, even the second batch of the Note 7 faced the same issues. Ultimately, Samsung had to halt production and discontinue all sales. It was so bad that, having a Note 7 on an airplane became a federal crime and there was a severe fine and/or imprisonment.
Many months passed in silence from Samsung, but now they have finally concluded their investigations and it was made public today.
In a report released by Samsung, it details flaws in its battery design and manufacturing.
According to Samsung, the investigation involved a dedicated staff of 700 people who tested 200,000 phones along with 30,000 additional batteries. They also tasked three important industry organizations (UL, Exponent, TUV Rheinland) to provide them with some objective analysis.
Every aspect of the process was reviewed ranging of hardware, software, assembly, testing to logistics in detail. Ultimately, a conclusion was reached and the battery was named as the main culprit.
Lithium-ion batteries are arranged in the three layers. A positive electrode, a negative electrode and a third physical layer that acts as a wall between the first two and keeps them separate. However, if the positive and negative electrode were to touch each other, it can sometimes lead to short circuits within the battery.
Dong-jin Koh, Samsung’s mobile business chief, in a press conference in Seoul, South Korea acknowledged that two separate instances of battery malfunctions had taken place. The first time before the recall and the second time after the recall with the second batch.
In the first set of batteries, the issue was with the upper right hand corner of the battery cell. The battery had an electro deflection and incorrect positioning of the tip of the negative electrode. The design flaw caused the electrodes to bend which led to the breakdown of the separation between the positive and negative electrodes, ultimately causing a short circuit.
The second set of batteries that Samsung used, came from a separate supplier. According to Samsung, there wasn’t any kind of design flaw with it but a manufacturing issue led to a welding defect which caused the battery to short circuit and ignite.
Samsung has made it very clear that since they have identified the problem, extraordinary measures have been taken to further improve their quality assurance process.
An 8-point battery safety check has been developed that includes a number of tests. Technicians subject the devices to extreme conditions in order to reassure everyone about the safety of their devices. Future devices will be safer to use and will be tested more thoroughly down the production line.
Samsung has also confirmed that it will continue both its Galaxy and Galaxy Note products and will continue to innovate as it ensures a higher priority for product safety. The upcoming Galaxy S8 is also expected to be introduced in a few weeks.