Sony blames manufacturing defect for Dell battery recall

Sony has blamed a manufacturing defect for the overheating problem that caused Dell to recall more than four million laptop batteries.

The company explained that during manufacture tiny shards of metal were left in the battery cells, some of which caused a short-circuit leading to overheating.

It said that shard deposits are not uncommon as they are caused when crimping the tiny rolls of metal that make up the cells. Sony said that it is taking action to prevent the problem recurring. It stressed that the underlying Lithium-Ion technology is perfectly safe.

Although Dell is the only company to have issued a recall, after videos of several of its laptops bursting into flame were posted on the Internet, other laptop manufacturers use Sony batteries, including Sony itself, Lenovo and Apple. It is not yet known whether they have used batteries from the affected batches, although Apple said it was looking into any possible risk to its customers’ portable Macs.

Dell said this morning that it had already taken 100,000 phone calls and received 23 million website hits. The scale of the recall means that customers would have to wait for their replacement, with orders being taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

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