The high-efficiency utilization of cutting tool resource is closely related to the flexible decision of tool life criterion, which plays a key role in manufacturing systems. Targeting a flexible method to evaluate tool life, this paper presents a data-driven approach considering all the machining quality requirements, e.g., surface integrity, machining accuracy, machining stability, chip control, and machining efficiency. Within the context, to connect tool life with machining requirements, all patterns of tool wear including flank face wear and rake face wear are fully concerned. In this approach, tool life is evaluated systematically and comprehensively. There is no generalized system architecture currently, and a four-level architecture is therefore proposed. Workpiece, cutting condition, cutting parameter, and cutting tool are the input parameters, which constrain parts of the independent variables of the evaluation objective including first-level and second-level indexes. As a result, tool wears are the remaining independent variables, and they are calculated consequently. Finally, the performed processes of the method are experimentally validated by a case study of turning superalloys with a polycrystalline cubic boron nitride (PCBN) cutting tool.

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