South Korea to Put Strict Battery Safety Rules in Place

In an effort to avoid repeats of battery fires which forced Samsung to withdraw its Galaxy Note 7 handset, South Korea has announced that it will strengthen lithium-ion battery safety requirements and will also conduct regular inspections of manufacturers, Reuters is reporting. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in portable devices, would be subjected to greater oversight.

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Last month, Samsung and independent investigators said that different battery problems from two suppliers i.e. Samsung SDI Co Ltd and Amperex Technology Ltd, caused some Note 7 handsets to explode. The South Korean tech giant, who was forced to scrap its flagship Note 7 smartphones in October last year, lost over $5.4 billion in operating profit over three quarters.

“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,” Vice Minister Jeong Marn-ki said in the statement.

The government also said 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.

 The trade ministry added that a separate probe by the Korea Testing Laboratory also found no other cause for the Note 7 fires other than a combination of manufacturing and design faults with the batteries.

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