Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall Error Essay

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Error, Failure and Risks: The 2016 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall

In September 2016, Samsung initiated a global recall of one of its flagship smartphone brands, the Galaxy Note 7. The recall was set in motion just a few weeks after the company had launched the smartphone device, after numerous complaints were registered with regard to batteries overheating (Swider, 2017). Barely two weeks after launch, quite a number of dangerous battery episodes had been reported. This necessitated the issuance of a formal recall across the nation from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Initially, Samsung diagnosed the problem as originating from batteries manufactured by its own component unit (Swider, 2017). The company had sourced the batteries used in the recalled device from both its own component unit and from a third party. The solution in this case was simple: customers with devices powered by Samsung’s own battery would trade in their devices for a safer replacement. The company’s own batteries bared a distinctive green meter. However, this fix, as Swider (2017) points out, did not solve the problem. Soon, devices that had been replaced started overheating too. This was a clear case of misdiagnosis. It was not until October that the company deemed it fit to not only discontinue the device’s production, but also amplify the recall.
It is important to note that following the second recall, the company opted to remain silent and with no additional information forthcoming from the company, speculation became rife.

In January 2017, three months after the second recall, Samsung finally revealed the flaw that was causing its phones to overheat, with some reportedly exploding. The company’s investigations revealed that both batteries – i.e. those sourced from a third party as well as those sourced from its own division – were the problem. Batteries “sourced from Samsung’s own SDI division short-circuited as a result of damage to the separator, a component within lithium-ion batteries that prevents the negative and positive electrodes from coming into contact with each other and generating a dangerous amount of heat” (Wiggers, 2017). In this case, the battery’s protective pouch which is typically heat-sealed and the battery’s internal components did not have enough spacing between them. This effectively led to the compressing of the battery’s electrodes in some cases, causing the electrode separator to weaken. On the other hand, batteries from the third party, “Hong….....

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Addady, M. (2016). More than Half a Million Hoverboards are Being Recalled. Retrieved from

Swider, M. (2017). Here’s Why the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Batteries Caught Fire and Exploded. Retrieved from

Wiggers, K. (2017). Everything we Know about Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Recall. Retrieved from

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