Samsung answers blazing Note 7 questions, vows improved batteries

Sure, censure a batteries. But it’s not utterly that simple.

During a press discussion Sunday, Samsung pronounced dual apart battery defects caused both a strange collection of Galaxy Note 7 phones and a deputy units to overheat.

The initial battery, it said, suffered from a pattern flaw. The battery’s outmost surrounding was too tiny for a components inside, causing it to short-circuit and ignite.

The second battery, that came from another supplier, didn’t have a same flaw, Justin Denison, conduct of product plan and selling for Samsung’s US arm, pronounced in an talk forward of a press conference. In a rush to siphon out adequate batteries for a deputy units, though, a retailer introduced a production forsake that led to a same result, he said.


The reason puts to rest a poser behind a bursting Note 7, though it kicks off a new plea for a embattled company: winning behind your trust after a catastrophic several months that enclosed dual recalls and a preference to kill a critically acclaimed phone. The Sunday press discussion noted a start of a Samsung debate to reconstruct association credibility, that will embody a arriving launch of a flagship Galaxy S8 phone, as good as another Note after in a year.

“It was a unpleasant predicament to me,” D.J. Koh, Samsung’s mobile chief, pronounced in an talk forward of a press conference. He called it a misfortune widen in his 33 years with a company.

On Sunday, Koh was assimilated by UL, Exponent, and TUV Rheinland, 3 eccentric contrast firms that came to many of a same conclusions as Samsung.

The Note, while not Samsung’s top-selling phone line, is an critical device for a company. It’s one of dual large flagship introductions any year, and a Note 7, in particular, was meant to take on Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, that strike a marketplace in September. Samsung expects a Note 7 debacle, that resulted in 3 million removed phones, to cost it some-more than $5 billion. That’s not including a strike to a reputation, that could take months, or even years, to repair.

The biggest assign for Samsung this year will be convalescent consumer trust, display business and intensity business that a inclination are protected and that a association won’t make a same mistakes again. Its tip executives, vocalization with CNET, pronounced Samsung hoped a clarity would symbol a good initial step.

“When companies do this right, on normal 18 months is a time duration for branch around a reputation,” pronounced Thomas Cooke, a highbrow during Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. “Samsung is on a approach to recovery. we consider it can be done.”

So, what a heck happened?

Shortly after a Note 7 went on sale in mid-August, users started stating overheating problems. Samsung creatively tied a issues to a battery smirch and recalled all a Note 7 phones on a market. That didn’t repair a problem, however, with a deputy inclination also overheating. Samsung launched a rare second recall in Oct and stopped production a Note 7. Its concentration afterwards incited to finding out what went wrong.

118-point-battery-safety-checkdurability-testpenetration-test.jpgEnlarge Image

Samsung’s new turn of battery tests will embody continuance tests, like this one with a spike puncturing a battery.


Samsung tackled a Note 7 examination as it approaches other hurdles — with a lot of manpower. It built a contrast trickery in any of a 4 locations it manufactures a phones: Gumi, South Korea; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Huizhou and Tianjin, China. Together, those sites tested some-more than 200,000 Note 7 inclination with batteries and some-more than 30,000 batteries on their own. Samsung had some-more than 700 engineers from a mobile multiplication dedicated to a contrast process. (Samsung has more than 70,000 engineers in a broader company, though they’re widespread opposite a several divisions.)

The engineers looked during software, hardware, production process, peculiarity and declaration testing, and supply chain. They looked during things like either a iris scanner or program algorithms caused overheating, or if a device’s fast-charging capabilities had an impact.

Initially, it was to no avail. “[There was] zero in this turn of hardware, zero in a software, zero in a processes, logistics, that could have contributed,” Denison said.

Samsung incited a concentration to a batteries themselves. Throughout a contrast process, engineers were means to means batteries to overheat, both in a device and on their own.

Samsung had dual apart suppliers for a Note 7 batteries, that were custom-made for a Note 7. It specified a characteristics, like a voltage and earthy size. Then it was adult to a suppliers to pattern and make a batteries as they saw fit. “If we open adult Battery A and Battery B, they’re opposite batteries,” Denison said.

Samsung declined to endorse a names of a dual suppliers, though a US Consumer Product Safety Commission pronounced Samsung SDI (which is apart from Samsung Electronics though has a same primogenitor company, Samsung Group) granted a batteries obliged for a initial recall. Hong Kong-based Amperex Technology acknowledged on a site that it was a second supplier. Amperex wasn’t accessible for comment, while a deputy from Samsung SDI pronounced no one from media family was immediately available.

Explaining a Note 7’s battery flaws (with cake)

Bridget Carey finds a honeyed approach to illustrate Samsung’s commentary on because a Galaxy Note 7 overheated, and what a association is doing to forestall destiny battery failures.

by Bridget Carey

In a initial supplier’s battery, dubbed Battery A, Samsung detected a pattern smirch that caused a battery to short-circuit. The retailer combined a tote (the battery’s outward casing) that didn’t have adequate space to concede a battery to enhance and agreement when going by normal assign and liberate cycles. That caused a certain and disastrous electrodes to touch, short-circuiting a battery.

(Some progressing reports speculated that Samsung’s phone itself didn’t leave room for a battery to expand. That wasn’t a case, though Samsung skeleton in a destiny to leave even some-more room inside a inclination for a battery.)

In a box of Battery B, from Samsung’s second supplier, a smirch was associated to production and peculiarity issues. The initial batteries from that retailer worked excellent in progressing Note 7 devices, though when Samsung increasing a sequence and pushed that retailer to turn a solitary battery provider, a battery builder introduced errors. Some protrusions were left over from a ultrasonic welding routine that caused a battery to short-circuit.

Samsung had asked a second retailer to build about 10 million new batteries. “Ultimately, they were not means to make those with sufficient quality,” Denison said.

What’s Samsung doing now?

One of a biggest questions confronting Samsung during a Note 7 failure was how a peculiarity and declaration routine (the tests a phones go by before being sold) didn’t locate a problem.

Samsung would have had to do an X-ray exam on Battery A to find a problem, while Battery B would have compulsory Samsung to dismantle it to find a error. Neither of those were stairs in Samsung’s normal contrast routine though were rubbed by a battery manufacturers, Koh said.


Samsung has instituted an eight-point battery check to forestall a problems it had with a Galaxy Note 7.

Infographic by Alfred Ng/CNET

Samsung is now changing a contrast routine for pivotal mobile components. For a batteries specifically, Samsung is instituting an eight-point investigation process. Some of a stairs formerly were rubbed by a suppliers; some are new.

“There are going to be some tests we’re going to do that we trust go good above and over a attention standard,” Denison said.

One check is a continuance exam that examines a battery when it’s been overcharged, punctured by a spike or unprotected to impassioned temperatures. Samsung will visually check any battery and do an X-ray exam to check for abnormalities. It will put a batteries by a large-scale charging and discharging test, will copy accelerated consumer use scenarios, and will dismantle a batteries to check a altogether quality. Other tests will demeanour for steam of a battery member and a finish device, or for any change in voltage by a production process.

The arriving Galaxy S8, Samsung’s new flagship phone approaching to launch this spring, falls underneath a new investigation process, Koh said.


Breaking down a battery to take a demeanour during each member is a new partial of Samsung’s battery investigation process.


“When a second…recall happened, that was a accurate time that we were starting a pattern of a battery for a S8,” he said. “All [new] production processes are reflected on all 2017 models.”

He combined that a Note 7’s issues didn’t have a “huge impact” on a Galaxy S8’s recover date. “We combined staff to make it safer,” Koh said. “But that doesn’t impact a schedule. Nothing meaningful.”

Rebuilding trust

Beyond opening adult about a problems, Samsung hopes holding a some-more industrywide perspective will assistance a association measure some kismet points.

Samsung is articulate to tellurian standards groups about pity a new battery examination process, Koh said. His wish is that everybody follows identical guidelines, that might residence issues such as hoverboards throwing fire.

“If we minister this as a tellurian standard, afterwards we strongly trust that will really boost a lithium-ion battery safety,” he said.

Koh combined that Samsung would make a egghead skill around battery reserve and standards openly available.

Ultimately, Koh understands it will take awhile to reconstruct Samsung’s mislaid credibility.

“For customers, we have to rise innovation, though patron reserve is a priority,” he said, observant that Samsung had to keep delivering products. “In a end, we can win a customers’ trust back.”

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