Interview with Dr. Jakub Kucera from AnaPico

  • Dr. Jakub Kucera - CEO at AnaPico

everything RF recently interviewed Dr. Jakub Kucera who is the co-founder and managing director of AnaPico. He received his Dr. Sc.Tech. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich in 1999 and subsequently worked in various positions in the RF and Optoelectronics industry.

Q. Can you give us a brief history of AnaPico? When was the company formed and what were the objectives?

Dr. Jakub KuceraAnaPico was established in 2005 by two microwave engineers, myself and Urs Lott, in Zurich, Switzerland. Their objective was to leverage their industry expertise to provide high-quality product solutions at competitive prices.

Q. Can you tell us about your product portfolio? What product segment is the largest for you?

Dr. Jakub KuceraAnaPico's existing product portfolio encompasses a diverse range of signal sources, including analog and vector signal generators, as well as wideband frequency synthesizers capable of operating up to 54 GHz. Special focus is on low-phase noise and ultra-agile signal generation with focus on multi-channel sources with excellent channel-to-channel coherence specs. Products are available as flange- and rack-mountable, desktop, and portable configurations. In addition to the signal sources, AnaPico offers a line of signal source analyzers designed for tasks such as residual and absolute phase noise and amplitude noise measurement under CW or pulsed conditions.

Q. Do you develop these products for specific market segments or are they more general? What market segment or sector is the largest for you?

Dr. Jakub KuceraAnaPico offers an extensive array of signal generators and frequency synthesizers. Our product range spans from budget-friendly low-frequency models to high-end class signal sources, featuring unparalleled capabilities worldwide. As a result, our diverse devices find successful applications in various industries, including civil and military radars, satellite communication, electronic warfare, metrology, quantum computing, telecommunications, 5G technologies, and EMC and general-purpose RF labs. The success of our company is attributed to product diversification, making it challenging to pinpoint a singular focus due to our widespread impact across multiple sectors.

Q. How do you differentiate your product offering from other Test Equipment Manufacturers?

Dr. Jakub KuceraTo stand out in the measuring equipment market, it's crucial to provide value through a blend of technical features, pricing, delivery speed, service, and the ability to offer tailored solutions. 

AnaPico's unique offerings include multi-channel signal sources with outstanding agility, phase coherence and time-synchronization capabilities, setting them apart from direct analogs. AnaPico also stands out by offering customization to meet specific customer specifications 

Q. Can you tell us more about your Phase Noise Analyzers? Why is phase noise analysis important?

Dr. Jakub KuceraThe phase noise level plays a crucial role in the performance of modern radar systems. A lower phase noise level not only enhances space resolution but also contributes to more accurate measurements of the speed of moving objects. Beyond radar applications, phase noise measurement techniques are employed in assessing highly sensitive oscillators like thermostated crystal oscillators (OCXO), dielectric resonator oscillators (DRO), and synthesizers utilized in scientific and data communication applications.

Various types of phase noise measurements exist, including those for continuous signals, pulse-modulated signals, and additive phase noise. AnaPico's APPH and APNA series phase noise analyzers are capable of performing all these measurements. AnaPico stands out with superior sensitivity for additive phase noise measurements; for instance, in the X-band, the sensitivity level reaches -180 dBc/Hz. Other characteristics are competitively matched. AnaPico's phase noise analyzers operate up to 65 GHz without external mixers, and with external mixers, they extend up to 1 THz.

Q. What is the difference between Frequency Synthesizers and Signal Generators? Can you tell us about these product lines?

Dr. Jakub Kucera:  A wideband frequency synthesizer from AnaPico is typically a fast hopping signal source with reduced dynamic power range, limited level accuracy (no ALC control) and reduced harmonic rejection and modulation capabilities. They are offered in compact enclosures, ideally suited for system integrators. 

AnaPico also offers instrument-grade wideband synthesizers like the APMQS20 that have enhanced functionality but are still available in very compact formats. 

Q. What is your relationship with BNC (Berkeley Nucleonics Corp) they seem to have similar product offerings?

Dr. Jakub Kucera:  AnaPico develops and manufactures all products in Switzerland including those private-labelled and sold through BNC (Berkeley Nucleonics Corp).

BNC operates as our exclusive partner and representative office for the United States.

Q. Can you tell us more about your sales channels? Do your customers interact with you directly or do you have distributors and sales reps?

Dr. Jakub Kucera:  AnaPico is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where the focus is on centralized product development and manufacturing. Despite this concentration, AnaPico maintains a global sales and support network that spans approximately 50 countries. This network operates in collaboration with contracted distributors, resellers, and agents with extensive experience in the test and measurement market. AnaPico also directly engages with key accounts in their specific application areas. The guiding principle of AnaPico's sales and marketing and application engineering teams has consistently been to stay closely connected with customers.

Q. What about product support? How do you support customers across the globe?

Dr. Jakub Kucera:  Several of our distribution partners possess the capacity and capability to offer local technical support, including repair and calibration services. We also collaborate with partner labs, such as Trescal, that have a global presence, extensive expertise, and authorization to provide calibration services in proximity to our customers. As AnaPico continues to grow, we are consistently expanding our global service network.

Q. Can you tell us more about your manufacturing facility? Do you manufacture and test your products in-house?

Dr. Jakub Kucera:  AnaPico products are 100% manufactured, assembled and calibrated in our factory in Switzerland. 

Concentrating the production and design center in a single country enables us to uphold high product quality standards and achieve faster production times. A crucial element in establishing efficient production processes is the active collaboration between the production and product development teams.

Q. Who are your customers and where are they located? Can you give us a percentage of geographical breakup by continent?

Dr. Jakub Kucera:  AnaPico's RF and Microwave Test and Measurement Instruments find applications in diverse fields, including generating radar signals, antenna array-based signals in wireless communications, quantum computing, test system integration, various testing laboratories, and general laboratory use in universities and research institutions. Our customer base spans the globe, with approximately one third revenue from each region (EMEA, USA, and APAC). 

Q. What is the 3-year product roadmap for AnaPico?

Dr. Jakub Kucera: The product roadmap for AnaPico will continue the existing path, offering products with a high degree of customization, extending in higher frequency and bandwidth and enhancing our signal analyzer portfolios. Our overarching strategic vision is to "Become a leading manufacturer of microwave test and measurement equipment."