Lovell: Those are both flexible terms, which makes them hard to define. Many products that ZF develops and sells have the characteristics of systems: a vehicle’s brakes, steering, and transmission, for example, are all built from many different electronic and mechanical parts. So we could actually refer to them as individual systems – and we often do. For our customers, however – the automobile manufacturers – these are all components that are a part of the system that is the entire vehicle. So it always depends on your frame of reference. At ZF, we are also active at this system level – we support the integration of our products into the vehicle. And we combine our individual systems into a group that can do a whole lot more. Adding this level of functional value, like we have done with our Integral Chassis Control (ICC) software, is usually only possible at the system level.
Vogt: In general terms, I would describe a current ZF OEM component as such: an electromechanical actuator that can be controlled digitally and therefore has a software interface. So specifically, an absorber whose damping force can be varied electronically or our AKC, which adjusts the steering at the rear axle. But it’s only this interface, this ability to be controlled electronically, that makes the components interesting for systems integrators – regardless of whether they work here or at the OEM.