Tools for rolling steels and super alloys, which are nowadays in general made from steel or cemented carbides, suffer from wear and/or from surface cracking caused by thermal fatigue. New tools made from silicon nitride show improved performance in respect to thermal shock loading and wear. But their low toughness manifests also a high risk of brittle failure. Nevertheless the successful use of silicon nitride rolls with having more than a manifold lifetime (compared to the conventional solutions) has been reported in the last years [1 -3]. In this paper earlier work of the Institut für Struktur- und Funktionskeramik at Montanuniversität Leoben on highly loaded silicon nitride rolls is summarized, where the limits of the Application of silicon nitride rolling tools are discussed. On the extreme example of rolls for super alloy wire rolling the behaviour of small surface cracks in the roll track is discussed. It is shown that – for the investigated conditions - rolling high strength steel wires is manageable but rolling of super alloy wires will cause the growth of fatigue cracks, which may destroy the rolls after some tons of rolled wire. A not trivial problem to be solved is the connection of the ceramic tool with the metal parts of the roll stand. Thermal strains of the metal parts can be several times larger than those of the silicon nitride ceramic and can therefore cause very high thermal misfit strains, even if the heating of metal parts seems to be modest. This case is discussed on the example of a catastrophically failed ceramic tool. This clearly shows that not only the tool but also the joint of the tool to the rest of the machinery has to be designed carefully. In summary this work demonstrates that a successful use of silicon nitride ceramic tools for cold and hot forming of metals and alloys is possible.