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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Seasons of recalling ICT products

Remmy Nweke

On August 14 when Dell announced without option that it has to recall the batteries of its laptops already in the market, not much eye brows were raised.

The total number of recalled batteries was estimated to be about 4.1 million at that exercise in accordance with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

As if this was not enough, a week later, Apple, another core Information Technology (IT) hardware company, announced its own recall, expected to attract or affect several millions of notebooks and laptops.

A unifying factor here is that Sony reportedly produced most of the recalled batteries, which were manufactured and shipped between April 2004 and July 18, 2006.

The problems Dell is having stem from impurities within the anode and cathode of the battery, said Kay, who was briefed on the problems by Dell executives. Over time, those impurities, usually tiny pieces of metal, can work their way to the edge of the anode or cathode and rupture the isolator that sits between the two, he said. Once that happens, you get a short circuit and possibly a fire according to analysts from CNET.com, Messrs Tom Krazit and Michael Kanellos.

In cell phones, they also said, lithium ion batteries can overheat because of a short circuit. If the temperature rises slowly, the battery case may melt. If it rises rapidly, however, enough pressure may be generated to create a small explosion in a lithium ion battery. Consumers have suffered severe burns as a result of these failures. The chemical reaction that produces energy in a lithium-ion battery is considered quite violent.

For Apple this recall could be on-going at the moment, but noteworthy is that the these products were probably made for specific markets in the Least Developing Countries (LDCs) of the world, eventually find its way circulating in the advanced countries, thus raising concern over the battery.

It is a fact that if the alarm was initially raised from LDCs, less attention should have been given to the the outcry that surrounded it.

As informed recently by the chairman cum founder, Dell, Mr. Michael Dell, his firm was still investigating the incident in order to find a remedy for the future.

Report has it that while in Sydney early this month, Mr. Dell used the opportunity to schedule meetings with some large customers while in Ausutraia and New Zealand as well as the staff at the Sydney’s Town Hall.

Also recently, leading system manufacturer in Nigeria, Zinox Computers extended its warranty for a batch of computers produced between March and May, 2006.

The gesture, Zinox said was designed to cushion the effects of long delays experienced while clearing its equipment at the local ports, which resulted in weakening of a batch of motherboards.

Speaking on this development, head, Technical Strategy at Zinox, Mr. Innocent Okorie explained that motherboards are extra sensitive electronic components that are not supposed to be unduly exposed to heat and humidity.

These components, he further explained witnessed these delays under unfavorable weather conditions have, as was expected, occasioned a 4 per cent failure rate on that batch of motherboards.

It would be recollected that last year Hewlett Packard and DELL equally had to replace world wide different models of their systems that were discovered to have major component failures. It is therefore seen that Zinox move was in tune with international standard practice.

The technical expert further said that those who have purchased PCs from Zinox with this batch of motherboards, that is, between January and May, 2006, would enjoy an additional six months warranty, making theirs an 18-month comprehensive warranty.

As said by him, this has been responsible for the collapse of the several manufacturing entities and uncompetitiveness of locally manufactured goods.

The uniqueness of recalling products in the ICT community globally is encouraging based on the viaualised good governance among its member companies.

Conversely, manufacturers such products should advance on their quality control of different products coming out of their stables.

Whereas the practice should be encouraged, consumer and quality control department of companies involved in manufacturing should come up with another module of ensuring good output so as to avoid eventualities and especially within the ICT community.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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