Drilling in steel reinforced concrete is an important but very challenging application in the construction industry. Rotary and rotary-percussive methods are used, both wet and dry, using cemented carbide and diamond inserts. The thermo-mechanical loading and multiple active wear mechanisms make material selection and geometrical design very challenging. Cutting tool failure mechanisms include monotonic fracture, fatigue and intense wear, as well as failures in brazed and welded joints. This presentation will briefly summarize the current situation and serve as an introduction to the materials science and mechanics-related challenges in the field of power tool inserts for drilling.