Plexiglas puts luminous accents in the interior of new seats

Sometimes it’s the small, surprising details that make a car likeable. For example, interior lighting that creates a comfortable atmosphere. Spanish carmaker Seat has given its popular little car Ibiza and the compact SUV Arona a design update. Among the most noticeable changes in the interior are the round, colorful ventilation nozzles with light guides of a light-scattering plexiglass molding compound from Röhm.

(Image: Seat)

air, light and color

Depending on the equipment line, the contours of the air vents glow in different colors: in rich red or cool white on Ibiza and in red, a light shade of green or honey yellow on Arona. They put a color accent on the black dashboard and give an atmospheric light effect when driving in the dark.

“Both models were going for an overhaul of the cockpit, and that’s when we came up with the idea of ​​adding decor and light to the air vents,” says Carolina Gómez Sánchez, color designer on Seat’s Color & Trim team. “This lighting technique enhances the interior ambience of the Seat Arona and Ibiza. The redesigned driver and passenger side vents are surrounded by LED lights. This means the interior is more tailored to the customer’s individual tastes. We wanted this functional component not to look so technical and boring out, but spice it up with a happy, playful detail.This fits well with the image of our classic Seat Ibiza, a car for people who are young at heart.For many, owning a car is so much more than a set wheels: It’s a symbol of freedom, and it’s an everyday companion that you want to feel comfortable with and have fun with. It explains the need for individual elements of the equipment. “

Colored plexiglass ventilation nozzles from Röhm.

(Image: Seat)

In addition to color, light is particularly suitable for adaptable and emotionally appealing designs. In general, the light in the interior of the vehicle is becoming increasingly important, not only for backlit switches and buttons in the cockpit, which must be recognizable in the dark, but also for ambient lighting with changing lighting moods and as a purely decorative element for illuminated moldings and contours. To do this, car manufacturers need high-quality light-conducting materials – such as plexiglass molding compound.

Colored plexiglass ventilation nozzles from Röhm.

(Image: Seat)

“The best material in combination with light”

“Early in the development phase, it was clear that we would use plexiglass to illuminate the contours of the air vents, because with its special optical properties, it is simply the best material to interact with light,” says the Seat designer. She and her team had two main requirements for the material: it should direct the light through the entire component with a uniform intensity, and it should scatter the light evenly. Special casting compounds of the Plexiglas LED LD type meet both requirements.

“We developed these special molding compounds specifically for LED edge lighting,” says Gunther Benz, Automotive Product Manager. “The scattering particles they contain cause the light which is introduced through the edges to be emitted homogeneously over the surface of the component.” this type of lighting, also the distance that the light must cover is relevant, Plexiglas LED LD is available in four versions, which can be used to design light guides up to a length of 96 centimeters.

The seat guides’ light guides consist of the LED 8N LD12 variant. Structures on the injection molded rings also ensure that the light is scattered in a radial pattern. The material is used here in its colorless original form and is baked with a colored plastic depending on the model and equipment line.

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