Abstract The process of vapour phase deposition such as CVD and PVD are of growing importance for the production of high grade coatings. Single and multilayer coatings with exceptional adhesive, hardness, wear and anti-corrosive properties can be produced in this way. Tools with hard coatings are already widely used on the basis of well developed processes. Coatings for more complex tools used in metal-machining processes as well as for machine tool components are still in the process of development. New variations to these processes and defined process control will significantly extend the application range of vapour phase coatings within the next years.