Dell Recalls Batteries Because of Fire Threat
Dell is recalling 2006 units.
The company said today that 1 million laptop batteries could catch fire.
The Consumer Product Safety Committee said it would be the biggest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry.
Dell, the world\'s largest PC maker, said,
The ion battery, manufactured by Sony, was installed on a laptop sold on the 18 th of April to July 2004.
The recall raised broader questions about lithium.
Ion batteries are used in devices such as mobile phones, portable power tools, video cameras, digital cameras, and MP3 players.
Over the years, the possibility of such batteries catching fire has been acknowledged and has prompted a more limited recall in the past.
But some recent fires involving laptops, including some on the plane, have regained attention.
Dell reported to the security agency that since December, Dell has recorded six incidents of overheating or fire in its notebooks.
None of these incidents resulted in casualties.
Dell said the problems were caused by defects in battery manufacturing made by Sony.
Security agencies say the batteries are not exclusive to Dell, meaning other companies using Sony\'s batteries may also have to issue a recall.
Sony has sold its batteries to most major computer manufacturers.
The recalled battery is used in 2.
There are 7 million computers sold in the United States, one.
Overseas sales 4 million
During this period, this figure accounted for about 18% of Dell\'s laptop production.
According to the number of batteries still in use, the cost of the recall may exceed $0. 3 billion.
Dell declined to estimate costs, but said the recall would not have a significant impact on its profits.
Sony confirmed today that its battery was responsible and said it \"financially supported\" Dell in the recall.
Dell said that affected customers will be notified by mail and online, advising them to remove the current laptop battery immediately and arrange to send a replacement battery.
On October 2004, the biggest safety recall of a consumer electronics product involved 1 million Kyocera cell phone batteries.
Dell has been plagued by reports of laptop burning in recent months.
On June, at a hotel in Osaka, Japan, a Dell laptop suddenly caught fire during the meeting.
Firefighters at Mount Vernon fell ill on July.
They were summoned to the office of the food processing and packaging company, Le Bao, to put out a laptop fire that was enough to burn the table.
In the same month, a Dell notebook parked in the pickup truck cab next to Mead Lake, Nevada, caught fire, lit ammunition in the glove box, and then lit the gas tank.
The truck exploded.
\"A few minutes later, when the laptop exploded, we came out of the canyon,\" said Thomas Falkland, owner of the laptop and truck.
\"Someone will eventually be killed.
\"The battery problem is Dell\'s latest setback, and Dell has been at a high level for a long time.
Wall Street Flyer
In the face of more intense competition to force price cuts, the company reported that,than-
Last year\'s expected sales and earnings dropped its share price by more than 40%.
The company also spent $100 million to improve its customer service. The company found that customer service alienated consumers.
Dell executives hope that the recall, though massive, will prevent further damage to its image.
Alex Gruzen, senior vice president and general manager of Dell products group, said: \"We are ahead on this issue . \".
\"I don\'t want any further incidents to happen.
\"Other computer manufacturers using Sony batteries are today evaluating similar problems they may face.
Apple spokesman Lynn Fox said today, \"We are currently investigating whether the batteries that are provided to Apple for our current and previous laptop lines meet our high standards for battery safety and performance. ”A Hewlett-
A spokesman for Packard said that since its battery was specifically designed for its products, the company\'s laptop would not be affected by the recall.
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Ion batteries, which store more energy in smaller spaces than other types of batteries, are the cheapest form of battery chemistry.
As a result, more and more consumer products use more powerful batteries.
Richard Stern, deputy director of fuel, electrical and entertainment products at the product safety board, said this means that \"more batteries, quality control issues and design issues are more likely, so we expect more accidents and recalls from these batteries.
The Federal Security Agency has negotiated 10 recalls of lithium.
Since 2000, 12 additional battery recalls for ion batteries and other electronics used in laptops, including Disney-
Brand of DVD player for children.
Federal regulations require lithium
When ion batteries are shipped in bulk on the plane, they are clearly marked as a warning, and as a combined Parcel Service cargo plane begins to drop to Philadelphia on February, after the fire was discovered, more stringent regulations are being considered by agencies.
Although the fire caused the consumption and destruction of the aircraft after landing, has not been determined, lithium battery
Suspected ion battery.
No one was injured.
A Lufthansa airliner is about to take off from Chicago O\'Hare International Airport, and its overhead suitcase is on fire.
A flight engineer threw it on the tarmac, where the fire was extinguished.
(Neither of these incidents caused injuries to people, nor did it say it involved a Dell computer or a Sony battery.
) The Federal Aviation Administration lists three other incidents involving smoking or lithium burning
Ion batteries on cargo and passenger aircraft since 2004.
The portable battery industry says there is no widespread problem with lithium
Ion battery fire
But the manufacturer already knows lithium.
Ion batteries have caught fire since they were first commercialized in 1991.
In fact, in 1995, Sony\'s lithium battery
The ion battery factory in Koriyama, Japan, was partially destroyed when the battery quality test caught fire.
The ad\'s current recall also leaves many unanswered about how Dell and the product safety board handle information about the fire.
The notebook was damaged.
Although Dell told the agency that only six incidents had occurred, a reporter looked at nearly 100 photos of melted notebooks returned to the company from 2004.
These photos from Dell\'s database were provided by Robert Day, a former Dell technician, who said the damage was \"more common than they revealed.
As many as hundreds are returned each year. Mr.
\"I did see a lot of pallets and they had to overflow storage with my lab,\" Day said.
\"Dell officials declined to say how many computers were returned due to high temperatures or fire damage, but said the company took action once it realized that there might be some pattern. Mr.
Gruzen said that the publicity around the Osaka Notebook fire did not prompt Dell to investigate the problem.
He said it was already in talks with Sony.
But the Osaka incident focused the company\'s attention on issues that could be more common than initially thought.
\"This is not six magic numbers;
\"We just don\'t have enough material,\" said David Lear, director of environmental affairs and product safety at Dell . \".
Considering the number of computers sold by Dell, even if hundreds of accidents occur every year, it is statistically insignificant, with about one computer per few hundred.
\"What we\'re talking about is doing triangulation on very sparse data . \"Gruzen said. A member of Mr.
Lear\'s staff happened to be in Japan when the laptop caught fire and they retrieved the body.
It was taken to the Los Angeles regional laboratory of a failed analytics firm, Exponent for inspection.
Despite the fire, the unit works when plugged in the power cord, which tells investigators that there is no problem with any circuit or microchip. An X-
Ray of the battery pack told them that the fire was not caused by an overcharged battery because the safety device was still intact.
Dell said the cause of the fire was a short circuit from one of the fuel cells.
This is caused by microscopic metal particles that pollute the electrolyte, a porous insulator.
Dell believes that the particles are released when the battery case is curled at the end of the Sony manufacturing process.
Dell had the same problem with the 22,000 laptops it recalled in December.
Sony technicians took the index lab exam and they provided additional data on all the batteries, not just the batteries sold to Dell, suggesting a wider range of problems in the manufacturing process.
\"With the incident, they seem to reinforce the conclusion that there is a problem with these Sony phones . \"Gruzen said.
\"They don\'t show predictable patterns, which is why we want them out of the market.
Sony is the second largest producer of lithium.
The ion Battery of the notebook computer is second only to Sanyo.
The new Dell batteries that the company hopes to sell in the next four weeks will be produced by Sony and other suppliers.
Dell said it is confident Sony will solve the problem by changing some manufacturing methods.
\"We are absolutely confident that we will get at-when we replace the battery-
At the risk of the battery in the hands of consumers, there will be no more incidents . \"Gruzen said.
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