Samsung Battery Factory Explodes in China

Feb 09, 2017

A Samsung SDI battery manufacturing facility in China caught fire on Wednesday after faulty lithium-ion batteries went up in flames, the company confirmed to Reuters.

The fire occurred in an area of the factory where battery waste, including bad batteries, are kept. None of the batteries on the production line were damaged or caused the fire, according to the wire service.

Samsung SDI is one of several subsidiaries under the Samsung banner. Samsung SDI produces batteries for many device types, including smartphones and computers. Samsung SDI is working on batteries that will ultimately be used in Samsung's next big smartphone, the Galaxy S8. That device is expected to be announced in March or April and go on sale in mid-April.

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While the battery factory is now operating normally and the fire didn't cause any casualties, it comes at a difficult time for Samsung.

Samsung (ssnlf) in August released the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. While reviewers generally applauded the smartphone's design and performance, a battery flaw caused it to overheat and in some cases, catch fire. After Samsung issued a recall and promised that the second batch of Galaxy Note 7s would be safe, more reports cropped up of the new devices exploding. Samsung was forced to discontinue the Galaxy Note 7 in the fall and has since been working to recover the millions of Galaxy Note 7 units it sold worldwide.

After a lengthy investigation into what went wrong, Samsung last month issued a report on the Galaxy Note 7's battery troubles. The company said in a statement that the batteries were affected by several problems, including undetected flaws in production, that caused them to malfunction.

In response, Samsung has announced several initiatives to improve battery safety, including the creation of an oversight board and the appointment of inspectors that will assess battery design and reliability.

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Meanwhile, Samsung is planning to release its Galaxy S8 in the coming months. The device will be a high-end handset designed to compete with Apple's iPhone 7, a smartphone the company released last year.

Samsung SDI has said that its facility is operating normally, according to Reuters, and the quality of its products won't be affected by the fire.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment.

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