Samsung released the official results of its investigation into the exploding batteries of the discontinued Galaxy Note 7 last month, revealing the reasons for the issue that plagued the smartphone since it was launched in August 2016.
However, it seems that the ghost of the Galaxy Note 7 continues to haunt Samsung, as a minor fire broke out in a factory owned by the company's battery production affiliate.
Fire Breaks Out At Samsung SDI Factory
A minor fire has been reported to have broken out at a factory in China owned by Samsung SDI, the Samsung affiliate that created the defective batteries for the Galaxy Note 7, which led to the first recall for the smartphone.
The fire broke out in a part of the factory that was used to store waste products, including faulty batteries, and not on the production line itself, according to Samsung SDI spokesperson Shin Yong-Doo.
On the official Sina Weibo account of the Wuqing branch of the Tianjin Fire Department, it was specified that the items that caught fire in the factory were lithium batteries inside the workshops, including half-finished products that were stored there. The branch added that it sent out a total of 110 firefighters and 19 trucks to extinguish the fire, which hints that the supposed "minor fire" might be larger than what is being reported.
The factory is now running normally after the fire was extinguished, with the fire having no significant impact on the operations of the facility and causing no casualties or injuries.
It is unclear if the waste products that caught fire are related to the batteries of the recalled Galaxy Note 7, and hopefully, the half-finished products involved in the incident are not the batteries that will be used for the Galaxy S8, as it has been rumored that Samsung SDI batteries will be used for the upcoming smartphone despite the affiliate's faults with the batteries of the Galaxy Note 7.
Lithium-Ion Batteries Still On The Hot Seat
This latest incident in a Samsung SDI factory further damages the reputation of lithium-ion batteries, which are being used to power the current generation's mobile devices.
Samsung initially used two kinds of lithium-ion batteries for the Galaxy Note 7, produced by suppliers Samsung SDI and Amperex. In the results of Samsung's official investigation into the Galaxy Note 7 explosions, the company found that the first batch of batteries that were manufactured by Samsung SDI had defects related to the negative electrode, which increased the chances of short circuiting that caused the explosions.
After the company recalled the Galaxy Note 7, it tapped Amperex to manufacture more batteries as replacements for the faulty ones made by Samsung SDI. However, the increased production rate led to issues in the manufacturing process, specifically the presence of traces of melted copper near the negative electrode, which also heightened the chances of explosions.
While the Galaxy Note 7 debacle apparently continues for Samsung, the fiasco might actually lead to good things for the industry, including increased awareness on the dangers of lithium-ion batteries, a chance for industry standards to become stricter, and more stringent testing processes for Samsung and other companies.