Attempts at scientific understanding of sheet metal formability began approximately five decades ago. laboratory studies of the 1930's were aimed primarily at elimination of steel defects and characterization of steel properties; understanding of plastic deformation and its relationship to the forming process was just beginning. Lubricants, tool metal, die processing, and other associated decisions were based on trial and error experiences. Since then, the scope and volume of scientific literature addressing sheet metal forming has increased exponentially. While a significant increase in laboratory understanding has been achieved, introduction of this knowledge into the press shop has been more difficult. Current emphasis is directed at the systems approach to sheet metal forming and the attendant management of data.