Samsung concluded last month that the Galaxy Note 7 explosions were caused by faulty batteries from Samsung SDI and Amperex Technology. The South Korean government had launched its own investigation into the incidents that forced Samsung to recall the Note 7 twice and eventually kill it, causing the company a loss of about $5 billion. Now the Korean government has made public the results of its investigation, which back up Samsung’s conclusions.
No fault in Galaxy Note 7 or its software
The probe was conducted by the Korean Agency for Technology Standards. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement that they did not find any problem with the phablet or its software. Vice-Minister Jeong Marn-ki told media that the explosions were caused by flaws in the battery structure and manufacturing processes.
According to the Yonhap News Agency, the batteries supplied by Samsung SDI were damaged in the upper corner of the internal structure due to pressure from the battery’s casing. In the case of Amperex batteries, the regulators found that an error in the manufacturing process led to some batteries missing the insulation tape. The insulation materials protect the sensitive parts in a battery.
South Korea to tighten safety guidelines
The Korean government said, to prevent further incidents, it would tighten the safety requirements for lithium-ion batteries. The regulator would also conduct regular inspections. Vice-Minister of Trade Jeong Marn-ki said ensuring safety was as important as “developing new products through technological innovation.” The regulator would monitor Samsung’s efforts to enhance battery safety such as X-ray testing and stricter design standards.
A Samsung SDI spokesperson told media that the company had addressed the manufacturing issues. Samsung SDI continues to supply batteries to its clients, including its parent company Samsung Electronics. The Korean electronics giant delayed the release of its next-gen flagship Galaxy S8 to beef up its testing procedures and avoid the repeat of the Note 7 debacle.
Samsung SDI to remain a key battery supplier
Despite supplying faulty batteries for the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung SDI has still grabbed the lion’s share of orders for the Galaxy S8 batteries. Samsung is also in talks with Japan’s Murata Manufacturing Company for S8 batteries. Murata purchased Sony’s battery operations last year. Depending on how the negotiations proceed, Murata could replace Amperex Technology as the second supplier. Murata will reportedly supply only 2% to 8% of the S8 batteries.
Samsung’s December quarter earnings showed that the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco didn’t have as much impact on its finances as some feared. The company has reduced its reliance on the mobile unit by strengthening its component businesses in the last few years. Samsung supplies key components for smartphones, TVs, and other devices to its rivals.