Academic Interests

  • The development of skill and competence in design and manufacturing
  • Optimum performance component design in composites
  • Advanced production processes for composites
  • Advanced metal wing production processes
  • Ethical leadership


  • Lecturer, Manufacturing Engineering Tripos
  • Examiner, Manufacturing Leaders' Programme

Spent 23 years in industry, was a partner in the consulting engineering practice Gifford and Partners, 1981-6, MD of Composite Technology Ltd 1986-9 and is now a lecturer in the Institute for Manufacturing. His interests are design and manufacturing, particularly skill-based manufacturing, and a concern for ethical leadership.



At the heart of all manufacturing progress is the entrepreneurial development of manufacturing processes themselves. Clarity of perception of the core functionality of a process, and a clear perception of the competences which drive it, lead to articulate, focused work on technology and skill development, from certificated design and process simulation software, through machine and tooling design, construction and commissioning and operational competence development for total process optimisation, to transparent, auditable and sustainable quality assurance procedures and records.


The Institute for Manufacturing is involved in the strategic development of wind energy technology.


Jim Platts discusses the use of sustainable energy sources in China

This talk was part of an Humanitarian Centre series on social enterprise and development. (54 minutes)


Other Interests

A Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and having spent a long time involved in large multi-disciplinary projects in that industry (major bridge projects, buildings, high speed ground transportation, military bridging, renewable energy development), I am a supervisor and examiner on the Inter-Disciplinary Course for the Built Environment and retain an interest and involvement in the development of good project management in that industry.


A balanced set of interests in materials development, manufacturing process development, design for functional efficiency and manufacturability, and a sensitivity to structure and to aerodynamics supports the current interest in the design and manufacture of composites components, and the development of new manufacturing processes for advanced metal aircraft wings. Through the 1980's these interests fuelled the design, development and manufacture of the large composites moulded blades for wind turbines, establishing Composite Technology (now Vestas Global Blade Technology) as a major contributor in that industry, currently producing high performance blades for wind turbines up to 120m diameter. I remain interested in the development of that industry and that technology.


Quaker, a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce), I have a strong interest in issues of ethical ownership and leadership in manufacturing, in different cultural settings world-wide. This is supported by a strong interest in history, and in economics, and particularly in cultural development, and an understanding of and deep respect for the teachings of different religious traditions.


See list of publications on Department of Engineering publications database


  • PLATTS, M.J. Composites Blades for Wind Turbine Rotors. Proceedings, British Plastics Federation 18th BPF Composites Congress(1992)
  • PLATTS, M.J. The Return of the Master Craftsman. Design: Principles and Practice. Open University CourseT264 (1992)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Confucius on Leadership. Journal of Strategic Change, 3, (5), 249-260 (1994)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Paradigm Shifts in Manufacturing Ownership and Leadership. Journal of Strategic Change, 4, (1), 33-37 (1995)
  • PLATTS, M.J., MAKIYAMA, A.M., JONES, S.E. Optimum Fibre Distribution in Composites Components. 4th International Conference on Automated Composites, Nottingham (September 1995)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Limited Liability. Religion and Public Life Conference, St Thomas University, St Paul, Minnesota,USA (September 1995)
  • PLATTS, M.J. The Design and Manufacture of Optimally Shaped 3D Composites Components. 5th IFAC Symposium on Automated Systems based on Human Skill, Berlin (September 1995)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Technology is the Art of Realising Craftsmanship. 5th IFAC Symposium on Automated Systems based on Human Skill, Berlin (September 1995)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Computer aided thinking. Co-design, (4), 66-71 (1995)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Emotional Dynamics of Student Projects. Personal Development in Engineering Discipline Network Conference, I Mech.E., London , 62-68 (November 1995)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Victorian Virtues as Measures of Managerial Competence. 13th IFAC World Congress, San Francisco , B, 317-322 (July 1996)
  • MAKIYAMA, A.M., PLATTS, M.J. Topology Design for Composite Components of Minimum Weight. Applied Composite Materials, 3,29-41 (1996)
  • JONES, S.E., PLATTS, M.J. Using internal fibre geometry to improve the performance of pin-loaded holes in composite materials. Applied Composite Materials, 3, 117-134 (1996)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Multi-Criteria Proposal Assessment Methodology. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, 5, (3 ), 226-231 (1996)
  • PLATTS, M.J. In praise of skunkworks! The Aeronautical Journal,101, (1005), 213-216 (1997)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Greed's OK Actually. 2nd Int. Symp. on Catholic Social thought & Management Education, Antwerp (July 1997)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Competence: the Virtue of Maturity. 6th IFAC Symposium on Automated Systems based on Human Skill, Slovenia, 231-234 (September 1997)
  • JONES, S.E., PLATTS, M.J. Practical Optimum Internal Fibre Distribution in Composite Components. 5th International Conference on Automated Composites, Glasgow, 295-302 (September 1997)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Redefining Productivity. 7th Int. Forum on Technology Management, Kyoto , 390-393 (November 1997)
  • PLATTS, M.J. The Way of the Craftsman. 7th Int. Forum on Technology Management, Kyoto , 411-415 (November 1997)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Participating in the Work of Creation. European Journal of Engineering Education, 23,(2),163-169 (1998)
  • LEVERS, A., TANNER, A., AL-KHALIL, M., PLATTS, M.J. Development of an Integrated Decision Support System for Creep Age Forming. Multidisciplinary Design and Optimisation Conference, R.Ae.Soc., London (October 1998)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Teaching the Profession of Manufacturing. 3rd Int. Symp. on Catholic Social thought & Management Education, Goa (January 1999)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Achieving Consensus. Conclave on Human Values and Conflict Resolution, Centre for Management Training and Research, Chandigarh (April 1999)
  • PLATTS, M.J., JONES, S.E. Designing Optimum Fibre Layouts in Composites. NAFEMS World Congress '99, Newport.,1145-1156 (April 1999)
  • JONES, S.E., PLATTS, M.J. Representing Seriously 3D Fibre Layouts in Composites. ABAQUS Users' Conference 1999, Chester, UK ,409-423 (May 1999)
  • PLATTS, M.J. The Development of Professional Competence. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) conference, Zurich, 153-158 (September 1999)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Qualification for Change. Researching Work and Learning conference, Leeds, 778-783 (September 1999)
  • GARDINER, D.S., PLATTS, M.J. Towards Peen Forming Process Optimisation. 7th Int. Conf. on Shot Peening, Warsaw, 235-243 (September 1999)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Tensorial Optimisation of Fibre Placement in Composites. Opticon'99 Optimisation Software Methods &Applications Conf., Newport Beach(October 1999)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Leadership and the Work of Transformation. 5th Int. Mtg. on Economic & Business Ethics Teaching, IESE, Barcelona (November 1999)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Diamonds are Forever. 7th IFAC Symposium on Automated Systems Based on Human Skill, Aachen, 255-257 (June 2000)
  • PLATTS, M.J., YEUNG, M.B. Managing Learning and Tacit Knowledge. Strategic Change, 9, 347-355 (2000)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Lean Landing Gear Design. Altait Hyperworks 2nd UK Conf., Towcester (October 2000)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Lean Design. 25th BICTA Conf., Cheltenham, 23/1-8 (June 2001)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Verbal and Numerical Decision Analysis: Parallels with Sketching and Drawing. Journal of Multi'Criteria Decision Analysis,10, 173 (2001)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Knowledge in Action. Reason in Practice,1,(2), 83-4 (2001)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Developing Competence and Trust: maintaining the heart of a Profession. Australian Asociation for Professional and Applied Ethics, 8th Annual Conference, Adelaide, (September 2001)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Limited Liability. Religion and Public Life, Ed- R.G.Kennedy, University Press of America, 141-154 (2001)
  • PLATTS, M.J. The Fruitful use of Silence. Developing Philosophy of Management - Crossing Frontiers, Forum for European Philosophy conference, Oxford (June 2002)
  • PLATTS, M.J., Meaningful Manufacturing, Sessions of York (2003)
  • PLATTS, M.J., Johansson,B. Sense Making and Sense Giving - Manufacturing Europe's future. 8th IFAC Symposium on Automated Systems Based on Human Skill, Gothenburg, 95-99(September 2003)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Meaningful Manufacturing - the sustainability of sense-giving work, Business Ethics a European View,12,(4),354-357 (October 2003)
  • WANG,T., PLATTS, M.J. A computer-aided blank design method for the peen forming process. Journal of Materials Processing Technology,122,374-380 (2002)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Developing Competence and Trust: Maintaining the Heart of a Profession. Professional Ethics,11,(1),3-18 (2003)
  • PLATTS, M.J., TOMASEVIC,V. Developing productive relationships in the construction industry. Practising Philosophy of Management - Management Philosophers Conference, Oxford (July 2004)
  • GENT,A., PLATTS, M.J. The "Care and Growth" model for site closure - a Leadership Guide. Practising Philosophy of Management - Management Philosophers Conference, Oxford (July 2004)
  • LEONG,Y.Y., PLATTS, M.J. Bio-manufacturing Networks: Linking Creativity and Trust. Practising Philosophy of Management - Management Philosophers Conference, Oxford (July 2004)
  • PLATTS, M.J. The Roots of Civic Trust. Management Philosophers Conference, Oxford (July 2005)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Adaptive Growth. Nature and Design, Eds- M.W Collins, M.A Atherton & J.A Bryant, WIT Press, 157-167 (2005)
  • WANG,T. PLATTS, M.J., LEVERS,A. A process model for shot peen forming. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 172, (2) 159-162 (2006)
  • PLATTS, M.J. Newton, Goethe and the Process of Perception: an approach to Design. Optics & Laser Technology, 36, (4-6), 205-209 (June-September 2006)
  • PLATTS, M.J., Wind energy turns to bamboo. Energy Materials, 1, (2), 84-87 (June 2006)
  • PLATTS, M.J., TOMASEVIC,V., Developing productive relationships in civil engineering. Civil Engineering, 159, (3), 132-137 (August 2006)
  • ILLES, K. PLATTS M.J., Building Trust through Business Education, 13th EDiNEB International Conference, Leading Innovation in Global Education and Training, Lisbon, Portugal, (June 2006).
  • ILLES, K. PLATTS M.J., Trust is a Process. A New Direction in Business Education, 6th Global Conference on Business & Economics, Track: Economics and Business Education, Gutman Conference Center, Harvard University, USA, (October, 2006)
  • ZHENG, X,. PLATTS, J., FENG, Y., Based on Parameter Optimisation and FLC Nonsingular Terminal Sliding Mode Controller of a Two-Link Flexible Manipulator. FUZZ-IEEE 2007 IEEE Int. Conf. on Fuzzy Systems, Imperial College, London, (July 2007).
  • ZHENG, X., PLATTS, J., YANG, S., CAO, G., Terminal Sliding Mode Control of the Delayed System by Adapting Derivate Estimator. IEEE IEON 2007 33rd Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan, (November 2007).
  • KANG, X., WANG, T., PLATTS, J., Multiple impact modelling for shot peening and peen forming. Proc. IMechE, Part B: J. Engineering Manufacture, 2010, 224(B5), 689-697. DOI: 10.1243/09544054JEM1672. (May 2010)

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