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Within the past decade, computer simulation of metal forming has undergone tremendous strides. While the main advantage of computer simulation is to give the cold former the ability to predict metal flow and fracture, recent developments have also enabled detailed predictions of die stresses using the same software. This enables the user in many cases to detect and prevent problems before the dies are machined, minimizing time spent in die tryout. Moreover, the cost of simulation software is now within reach of even the smallest cold forming company and has become very user friendly. In this paper the concept of the finite element method and a number of issues that should be considered by a new user before using computer simulation are discussed.