Cutting processes lead to mechanical and thermal loading of tool and work piece. This loading entails a direct influence of the cutting process on the surface layers of the manufactured work pieces. As a result, residual stresses and modifications of the micro-structure like white layers can occur in surface-near zones of the work piece. This paper presents the development of a FE-simulation model to predict phase transformations due to cutting processes. Therefore a 2D-FE-cutting simulation including a dynamic re-meshing is combined with a simulation routine to describe phase transformations that was primarily developed to simulate laser hardening. This paper illustrates the implemented mechanisms to determine phase transformations considering short time austenization and shows first experimental results revealing the influence of process parameters on the surfaces microstructure.