Premature collapse in terms of cohesive damage of PVD-coated carbide cutting tools often results in a time and cost consuming immediate interrupt of the cutting process. It is assumed that the residual stress state of the composite coating – substrate in combination with external loads during tool use is responsible for cohesive damage. The X-ray diffraction methods sin2 and scattering vector are applied for determination of the residual stress depth distribution in the coating and the substrate’s subsurface. Investigations of the residual stress state of commercial PVD-coated carbide cutting tools are presented. It is determined to what extent the single process steps during tool manufacturing are responsible for the final residual stress state of the PVD-coated tool. Furthermore the meaning of the PVD-coating process for the substrate’s residual stress state is investigated. Moreover, possibilities of controlling the residual stress state of the substrate by changing process variables of selected process steps are analyzed.