Samsung’s battery affiliate struggles after the Galaxy Note 7’s demise
When Samsung announced the first Galaxy Note 7 recall it said that a battery cell problem had been traced to one of its suppliers and that it was going to replace every single unit shipped with replacement units that had batteries from another supplier. It was later revealed in reports that the issue had been traced to the batteries supplied by Samsung SDI, the conglomerate’s battery-making affiliate, which supplied 70 percent of the battery cells required for the Galaxy Note 7. That assessment wasn’t entirely true because replacement units started catching fire as well which forced Samsung to discontinue the Galaxy Note 7 but the damage had already been done to Samsung SDI.
Reuters reports that Samsung SDI has been quietly reassuring anxious clients that the batteries it makes are safe. Potential new customers are proving harder to convince as Samsung SDI’s reputation has suffered a huge blow because of the Galaxy Note 7. This debacle also threatens the affiliate’s future plans which include developing batteries for electric cars and clean energy storage systems.
“Since the first recall, we’ve had many inquiries from our clients, including Apple, asking whether batteries used in their products are safe,” the report cites a person at SDI who was involved in the development of the Galaxy Note 7’s battery. Samsung SDI has lost nearly a fifth of its market value since the Galaxy Note 7 issue was first identified while the loss it posted in the previous quarter was more than double that of the previous year.
“We are also asking ourselves whether we should have done it (the Note 7 battery) this way, or whether there could have been other ways,” the person adds. The affiliate has now set up teams to improve product safety and has even allowed customers to check batteries which has led to temporary shipment delays for some customers.
Insiders at the affiliate tell the scribe that it had to incorporate new materials and technology to meet Samsung Electronics demand of a bigger battery for the Galaxy Note 7. “We focused on boosting battery capacity, but this could have been disadvantageous to reliability,” said one insider. Samsung is still investigating the cause of the Galaxy Note 7’s battery failures and is yet to offer a proper explanation of what went wrong.