What caused fire at Samsung factory that made Galaxy Note 7 batteries


A fire was reported Wednesday morning at a Chinese factory that supplied batteries for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, South China Morning Post reported.

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Samsung SDI Co., which owns the factory, said that it was a minor fire caused by discarded faulty batteries. The factory is located in suburban Tianjin’s Wuqing district.

No injuries were reported.

Tianjin’s firefighting authority said on its microblog that the fire was caught by lithium-ion batteries and some semi-manufactured battery products.

The “material that caught fire was lithium batteries inside the production workshops and some half-finished products”, the Tianjin Fire Department said on its Sina Weibo account.

More than 110 firefighters and 19 trucks responded to the call. Also on the scene were local environmental protection officials who monitored air quality for possible pollution, according to a report from Sina.com.cn.

Did fire damage Samsung production facility?

Samsung SDI, which is affiliated to Samsung Electronics, said that there is no damage to a production facility.

The company’s spokesperson Shin Yong-doo told Bloomberg that the fire occurred at a waste depository. And production remains unaffected.

Samsung SDI is one of the two battery suppliers for the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

Samsung has said that the Note 7’s issues were caused by batteries supplied by Samsung SDI and China-based Amperex Technology. Last month, the company said that it identified what went wrong with its Galaxy Note 7 handsets, CNBC reported.

The company said that lithium-ion batteries in the Note 7 phones were arranged in three layers: a positive electrode, a negative one, and a third physical layer that acted as the separator between the first two. When the positive and negative electrodes touch, it can sometimes lead to short circuits within the battery cells.

Recently, SDI announced that it invested about 150 billion won (HK$1 billion) to improve the safety of its batteries. Reportedly, the company will continue to supply batteries for Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone.

Samsung SDI is headquartered in Yongin, South Korea. It operates the largest network in mainland China, including five production corporations in Hefei, Suzhou, Wuxi, Xian and Tianjin.

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