South Korean authorities have confirmed that it will strengthen its policy over battery safety requirements and will conduct regular inspections in an effort to avoid a repeat of the Galaxy Note 7 fires last year.
Samsung were forced to recall all of its premium Galaxy Note 7 devices after reports emerged that its smartphones were catching fire - and in some cases actually self-combusting. Now Korean authorities have moved swiftly to ensure there is no repeat of that in the future by strengthening lithium-ion battery safety requirements.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy issued a statement to the press in which it stressed that manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries would be subjected to a greater oversight of its operations which would include regular inspections and testing.
Vice Minister, Jeong Marn-Ki has appealed to those in the technology sector to work with authorities in an effort to ensure overall safety. He said, “We ask that the industry shares the view that making efforts to ensure safety is equally as critical as developing new products through technological innovation.”
Samsung’s Note 7 debacle was a devastating blow for the smartphone leader. Its premium devices which retailed at around $900 – were all recalled in October due to faulty batteries which was established as the cause following a lengthy investigation into the matter. It wiped out around $5.4 billion in operating profit over three quarters.
Following a lengthy investigation by Samsung and a number of Independent investigators it was disclosed that different battery problems from two suppliers - Samsung SDI Co Ltd and Amperex Technology Ltd - caused some Note 7s to combust.
In a separate investigation conducted by Korea Testing Laboratory found no other cause for the Note 7 fires other than a combination of manufacturing and design faults with the batteries. The government declared that it would monitor Samsung's efforts to improve battery safety, such as x-ray testing and stricter standards during the design process.
It would strengthen recall-related requirements by broadening the types of serious product defects that manufacturers should report to the government, and seek legal changes to allow the government to warn consumers to stop using certain products even if they had not been recalled.