In order to be competitive on a present-day machine tool market, it is needed to produce a high quality, highly reliable systems with low operating and overall lifecycle costs. Health and usage monitoring systems are one of the promising technologies which are being developed to support this effort. The health and usage monitoring systems have been widely employed in the aerospace branch where the condition based maintenance can save maintenance costs and provide higher reliability. In the field of machine tools it is becoming increasingly important because the maintenance costs often exceed 30% of the overall operating costs. The main aim of this paper is a methodical introduction of the health and usage monitoring systems to the machine tools branch. This process has to start with in-depth analyses of machine tool functions and components. Consequently, the review of relevant standards is provided.