The results are in.
Samsung on Monday not only released its findings into what made its Galaxy Note 7, the flagship phone it released last fall, overheat and sometimes even smoke or explode, it also announced a number of strict quality assurance protocols to ensure the safety of its future products.
The results of Samsung’s investigation placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of its unnamed battery suppliers and exonerates the company’s Smartphone designers. The company’s findings match those of industry groups UL, Exponent and TUV Rheinland, which conducted their own investigations.
“For the last several months, together with independent industry expert organizations, we conducted thorough investigation to find cause to the Galaxy Note7 incidents,” the president of Samsung’s mobile communications business, DJ Koh, said at a press conference.
As part of that investigation, 700 Samsung researchers and engineers tested 200,000 Galaxy Note 7 handsets and 30,000 batteries. Those tests revealed that the first round of Galaxy Note 7s were sold with batteries containing improperly placed electrodes, as shown in the diagram below.
Tests also revealed that the replacement Galaxy Note 7s handed out after the company issued its September recall had a different battery issue. In this case, there was direct contact between a positive tab and a negative electrode, as shown below. Problems with the second round of phones caused Samsung to permanently end production of the Galaxy Note 7 back in October.
Based on its findings, Samsung formed a Battery Advisory Group of external advisers, academic and research experts to aid the company is setting up quality assurance protocols during the manufacture of all components of its devices. Members of the advisory group include Clare Grey, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at the University of Cambridge; Gerbrand Ceder, Ph.D. and professor of materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley; Yi Cui, Ph.D., professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University; and Toru Amazutsumi, Ph.D. and CEO of Amaz Techno-consultant.
“Samsung hopes that this case will serve as an opportunity to improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries not only for the company but for the entire industry, and will actively share the lessons learned to contribute toward improved safety standards,” the company said in a press release.
The new quality assurance system includes an eight-point battery safety check to address safety from the component level to the assembly and shipment of devices as well as strict safety standards on every component of Samsung’s devices including the overall design and materials used, device hardware strength and capabilities, and improved software algorithms for safer battery charging temperature, current and duration.
Samsung also released a video to explain its findings and the safety features it is putting in place to prevent future issues: