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This article provides a summary of the overall development of the finite element method (FEM) and its contribution to the materials forming industry. It focuses on the overall philosophy and evolution of the FEM for solving bulk forming issues. A number of applications of FEM are presented in the order they would be used in a typical manufacturing process sequence: primary materials processing, hot forging and cold forming, and product assembly. The article discusses four FEM modules: the deformation model, the heat-transfer model, the microstructural model, and the carbon diffusion model. The article also covers material fracture and die stress analysis and reviews optimization of the design of forming processes.

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