CSIRO spinout Arkwright Technologies wins Defence Award

Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

Arkwright Technologies has won the Defence and Defence-Related Capability category at the InnovationAus 2022 Awards for Excellence for its use of fibre optic sensors to make dangerous environments safer.

The InnovationAus 2022 Awards for Excellence were presented on Thursday night at a gala black-tie dinner at the Cutaway in Sydney’s Barangaroo district.

“It’s a great award for our company. We’ve been working hard for it and it’s very, very pleasing,” Arkwright Technologies founder and managing director Professor John Arkwright said on the night.

The Defence and Defence-Related Capability category honoured leading companies operating in one of the most innovative sectors in the country. This category shone a spotlight on some of the best products, services and innovations created through collaborations between defence research and industry.

Arkwright Technologies was born out of just that, with Professor John Arkwright incorporating the company in 2015 and being given full rights to his and his team’s fibre optic sensing research from his time working at the CSIRO.

The company offers customer fibre optic sensing for the defence sector, and also for medical and smart infrastructure.

Arkwright Technologies’ patented fibre optic sensor design allows inherently temperature insensitive measurement of pressure and force in a small package, which can also be configured for complex and convoluted environments.

The company’s sensors are used to monitor pressure transients in water and hydraulic pipelines, phase sensitive detection of acoustic signals and for monitoring wave height, amongst other applications.

The federal government awarded Arkwright Technologies more than $1 million to develop a vibration monitoring system for navy vessels that would reduce the vessel’s life cycle operating and sustainment costs.

Its technology brings together photonics and micro-fabrication capabilities into a platform with a wide range of applications.

Since its launch focusing on the medical sector, the company has developed an accelerometer and strain gauges based on the same technology, which are now used in the defence sector.

Professor Arkwright said it has been a rewarding 15 year journey, with the company now receiving interest from global customers. He’s bullish on the wider technology sector’s chance to tap the global market at a new scale.

“We’ve got a hell of a lot of talented here — there’s a lot of talent,” he said. “There’s a bit of an issue with with distance, but I think COVID for better or worse has shown us we can contract that distance rather well…I think we can do it [at scale]. We need to work on the logistics, but the main thing is we’ve got the skills.”

Veteran-owned tech company WithYouWithMe was highly commended in the category for its use of technology to assist veterans in transitioning from the military into new careers.

The InnovationAus 2022 Awards for Excellence were supported by: Investment NSW, AusIndustry, Australian Computer Society, Technology Council of Australia, Verizon, Mimecast, Microsoft Australia, Digital Health CRC (DHCRC), Agile Digital, METS Ignited, Innovation Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC), CSIRO, and Q-CTRL.

Photography for InnovationAus.com by Phil Carrick and Belinda Pratten

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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