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Acrylic Resin Sets Stage for New-Look VW Emblem

Image: Rohm New VW emblem
High-gloss emblems, both jet black and white, are a current trend in the automotive industry.

A circle surrounding the letters V and W — just one glance and it’s clear that we’re looking at a Volkswagen. The basic shape of the logo has been in use since 1945 and has been subject to continued development over the years. Volkswagen recently modernized the logo in one of the world’s biggest rebranding exercises. “The new logo represents Volkswagen’s breakthrough into an electric, connected, and CO2-neutral era,” says Klaus Zyciora, Head of Volkswagen Group Design.

The new logo has been reduced to its essential components and appears in a flat, 2D design. This change is also reflected in the emblems of the current ID models, such as the ID.3: In place of chrome-colored letters on a high-gloss black background, the new brand logo has a modern black-and-white high-gloss look. The emblem’s diameter has been increased by 4.5 cm (1.8 in.), making it even more eye-catching when applied to the front or rear of a car.

Plexiglas Hi-Gloss acrylic molding compound used to create Class A surface

The combination of two Plexiglas Hi-Gloss acrylic resins is used by Austrian automotive supplier, Ulbrichts GmbH, to create the emblem’s modern look. The company uses a special molding compound from Röhm GmbH, which has been a staple for black, high-gloss components in the automotive industry, such as pillar panels, for almost 20 years. This molding compound is used to create Class A surfaces with very high color depth. The contrast between black and white helps the letters of the current logo clearly stand out, regardless of the paint color beneath. Volkswagen has been using this effect for several years now, albeit in a modified version. Here, the famous chrome-colored letters stand out thanks to the high-gloss black background.

Whether a combination of black and white or black and chrome, the glossy appearance is retained for the entire life of the vehicle, as the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) from Röhm is fuel-, chemical-, UV-, and weather-resistant. “A logo is vital for brand recognition and should not fade or become brittle,” said Georg Scharpenack, CEO of Ulbrichts GmbH.

Single-step molding process produces high-gloss component

Before the high-gloss emblems were finalized, the European market leader for automobile emblems and lettering had to perform significant development work. “Volkswagen approached us for the first time back in 2012 with the task of developing high-gloss emblems,” says Scharpenack. “Painted components were not feasible for cost reasons, which is why we experimented with various materials.” The goal was to find a material that could be formed into thin, high-quality emblems using an automated injection molding procedure. “We initially thought PMMA was not suitable for this,” Scharpenack reports. “However, Brenntag Austria and the high-quality products from Röhm convinced us otherwise.”

The Plexiglas portfolio was recently expanded to include a white coloring of PMMA from Röhm. “We are aware of the strengths of the different materials — and Plexiglas Hi-Gloss molding compounds also have several benefits when it comes to producing emblems,” says Joachim Schicker, Account Manager, Material Science-Polymers, at distributor Brenntag Austria. These benefits mean it is possible to create the black-and-white high-gloss component with a Class A surface in just one work step when injection molding. “There is no need to apply a subsequent high-gloss paint,” says Scharpenack. “We can therefore significantly reduce the cost for each component, a key factor when considering the high number of parts required in the automotive industry.”

The logo also will be illuminated in the future, not just on the vehicles, but at company sites and dealerships. The ID.ROOMZZ concept car showed off this aspect with its particularly striking light elements and illuminated front and rear emblems. “While European legislation currently does not permit brand logos to be illuminated on the road, several Asian countries do allow it. Plexiglas molding compounds are also available for this, as they can be used for various lighting applications in and around the automobile, guaranteeing the homogeneous scattering of light and enabling flexible design,” says Siamak Djafarian, who heads the Molding Compounds business unit at Röhm.

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