Interview with Luis Garcia from Erzia Technologies

  • Luis Garcia - CEO at Erzia Technologies

everything RF Interviewed Luis Garcia, CEO at Erzia Technologies.  He founded Erzia in December 2002, with a vision to apply innovative concepts and technology available in at that time rising mobile phone industry, to the more conservative space industry.

As CEO, Luis Garcia manages the company and oversees the achievement of goals through the implementation of the company strategy. He is an MSc Telecommunications Engineer by the University of Cantabria of Spain and Global MBA by IESE Business School.

Q. Can you give us a brief history of Erzia? When the company was founded and the objective behind it?

ERZIA was founded in 2002 as an RF & Microwave engineering firm by the former Ericsson engineer Luis Garcia. Luis had been part of the RF team that designed some of the most iconic Ericsson cell phones such as the T29. At that time, the RF technology inside the cell phones was state of the art and Luis had an initial goal for ERZIA to incorporate that technology into RF space systems. Space systems usually only flew mature technologies due to the high reliability required in space and ERZIA offered to incorporate more modern RF architectures, concepts, and modulations. ERZIA first’s contracts were with the European Space Agency and with other companies of the European Space Industry.  

Q. What Products and Solutions does ERZIA develop?

- ERZIA develops modular microwave and millimeter wave amplifiers. We have currently more than one hundred commercially off-the-shelf medium and low power SSPAs and LNAs which are delivered on average within 4 weeks. We are continuously expanding our catalogue with new models to cover all frequency bands up to 100 GHz with a high variety of options and models to choose.

We are currently launching a new product line of high power X-band pulsed GaN SSPAs for the X-band radar market, with output powers up to 400W.

- ERZIA develops custom microwave integrated assemblies. These are very complex subsystems that can perform many functions such as frequency conversion, channeling, synthesizing, power conditioning, etc. These are building blocks for various electronic systems that ERZIA supplies for most European aerospace and defense prime contractors.

- ERZIA has a product line of datalink systems for the UAV and airborne market. Our current systems are an evolution of an R&D that we started more than ten years ago. They are flight proven in aerial platforms such as the F16.

- ERZIA develops RF amplifiers for space missions, having flown in Lisa Pathfinder and EXOMARs to mention some. As well as amplifiers, ERZIA also provides Special Check-Out test systems for spacecrafts and the space industry.  

Q. What Market Segments do you cater to? Which is the largest segment for you?

We target mostly the aerospace and defense market, as well as telecommunications, science, and research. Our largest segments are Electronic Warfare (EW) and the airborne. ERZIA’s fastest-growing segment is Electronic Warfare (EW).

Q. Geographically where are your customers located. Do you expect this to change in the years to come?

Our main market is the European Union with an approximate 70%, the USA with a 10%, Israel with another 10% and the rest is spread over Japan, India, China, South Korea, and Australia.

In the next years, our target is to grow in the US market.

Q. ERZIA recently opened an office in the United States. What function will this office carry out - design, R&D or sales?

ERZIA has not only opened an office but incorporated a full company in the United States, ERZIA Technologies of America, Inc. This is the first phase of our expansion plan in the USA and the current office provides us a local sales point for our USA customers. It is based in Arlington, VA, very close to some of our customers. In a future phase, our plan is to add design and production especially aimed for the US market. US is a natural market for ERZIA representing approximately half of our future sales. ERZIA has historically strong links in the USA market through our Santander Teleport Joint Venture with Global Eagle and longtime customers being served from our headquarters in Europe. Now the goal is bringing ERZIA locally to them.

Q. ERZIA has a large catalog of standard products? What percentage of your business is Custom vs Standard Products?

60% approximately is dedicated to custom solutions and 40% for standard production.

Q. What makes ERZIA's space products stant out from your competitors in this area?

Space products are usually one or several orders of magnitude more expensive than ground products. This partly due to the complex engineering and design effort and partly due to the high cost of components, which are designed or screened to survive the space environmental conditions. ERZIA has been able to master a design process where we combine space grade with lower cost military grade components to design space qualify amplifiers for specific missions with specific radiation requirements. In this term, we avoid generalist-missions-valid and more expensive products that need to be designed only with space components. This way we can bring down component’s cost and delivery time and generate value for our customers.

Q. Erzia has been developing mm-Wave products for Space Applications for some time now. 5G also seems to have the requirement for mm-Wave amplifiers. Is this an area that you are addressing or planning to address? What is your view on 5G?

ERZIA is a company with a niche market focus, where we create very sophisticated almost unique products. 5G will become a mass market, where it will be difficult for us to play a role once large economics of scale take place. We will keep on playing a role in testing applications and perhaps on high power amplifiers such as those of the base stations. In any case, 5G is more of a commercial mass market application compared to our more niche approached to aerospace and defense market.

Q. Can you tell us more about your Datalink System Based on TDMA?

These are 5 Mbps high speed networked airborne tactical line-of-sight communication systems, with a range of 200 km. They are used in planes, UAVs and missiles. TDMA allows or datalink to be flexible to several scenarios, line point to point, point to multipoint, or multipoint to multipoint communications.

Q. What is Erziasat? Can you tell us more about this product/service?

ERZIASAT is the Satellite Communications Division of ERZIA. We provide VSAT satellite communications, as well as an up/downlink services via our satellite ground station Santander Teleport.

ERZIASAT offers a broad range of satellite phone service and phones including Iridium, Globalstar, Thuraya and Inmarsat.

Wherever you are, sea or land, you can stay in touch in all the remote areas of the planet where the classical communications are not available.

Q. What is your vision for Erzia?

We understand our products are part of our customer’s highly complex systems in production, therefore, our vision is to reduce risks and uncertainties to our customers by delivering high performance and highly reliable RF & Microwave subsystems, on time.