The paper starts with a brief historical overview to the attempts of numerical simulation of sheet metal forming. Comparison between bulk and sheet metal forming processes from the simulation point of view is given. Basic requirements of the applier to the simulation tools are summarized. Various possible methodologies are briefly discussed. Special emphasis is given to the static explicit and dynamic implicit finite element procedures. Also different element types are overviewed. Available important commercial finite element packages are given. The current state of the application of the simulation tools is discussed. Some typical industrial applications are reviewed to demonstrate the current abilities of analysis. Finally, an attempt to prognosticate some future developments is made. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.