PROFINET Industrial Ethernet Tutorial (10) – GSD Files

In the previous article, when talking about smart devices, we export the GSD file of smart devices and then import them into new projects to realize the data exchange between IO controllers and smart devices. So what are GSD files? Why can the IO controller recognize and communicate with the smart device after importing the GSD file? In today’s article, we will talk about this topic. This article covers the following two topics:

What are GSD files?


1. What is a GSD file?

GSD is the abbreviation of “General Station Description” in English, and GSD files translated into Chinese is “General Station Description File”. As the name suggests, GSD files are used to describe the information of the site, including: data for configuration, parameters, modules (software layer), diagnostics, alarms, manufacturer ID and device ID, etc.

The Manufacturer ID is a globally unique identifier issued by the international organization PI.

In general, manufacturers of PROFINET products need to apply for a manufacturer logo to release products normally, and a few small companies will use other people’s logos. In addition to internationally renowned companies (such as Siemens AG, manufacturer logo = 42), I also saw a lot of names of Chinese companies, which shows the progress of our country in the development of PROFINET products. Due to space limitations, only some of the Chinese companies PROFINET manufacturer logos are listed as follows:

Manufacturer logo

Company name


Shenzhen Inovance Technology Co., Ltd.


Shanghai B&A Automation System Co., Ltd.


Shanghai Hurry Electronics Tech. Co., Ltd


Shanghai Zhaomu Industrial Technology.LTD


Huangshan Flend Control Equipment Co.,Ltd


Yantai DERON industry Co., LTD

Note: This is only a part of the Chinese manufacturer, interested partners can go to the PI official website ( to view.

Device ID is a manufacturer-defined product family identifier, such as ET200S family, ET200MP family, etc.;

The modules in the hardware configuration list are actually information obtained from GSD files. With GSD files, programming tools (such as Step7) can configure site information, set module parameters, perform online diagnostics, etc., and the IO controller can communicate with IO devices through the PROFINET network, which is why we exported GSD files in the previous article (Smart Devices).

2. The difference between the GSD files of PROFIBUS and PROFINET

GSD files were first found in the PROFIBUS system and later extended to the PROFINET system, but there is a big difference between the two.

The GSD file of the PROFIBUS system is a plain text file (ASCII text), which can be opened and edited with text editing software such as Notepad, and its suffix name varies according to the language, such as: .gsd means GSD default; .gse means GSD English; .gsg means GSD German, etc.; .gsd files are usually used.

The PROFINET system uses the XML language to describe GSD files. XML is an abbreviation for Extensible Markup Language, or “Extensible Markup Language.” It is based on the HTML language, adding extensible tags, suitable for data exchange. PROFINET’S GSD FILE USES XML LANGUAGE DESCRIPTION, HENCE THE FILE IS ALSO CALLED GSDML FILE, WHICH HAS THE SUFFIX .xml AND CAN BE OPENED WITH ANY TEXT EDITOR. The following image is a screenshot of the GSD file of IM151-3 in the Siemens ET200S family:

You can see in the figure that the manufacturer identification (VendorID) = 0x002A, that is, 42. It can also be seen that the PI manufacturer ID is 2 bytes long, so theoretically the maximum ID can be 65535; Device ID = 0x0301, Product Family = “ET 200S”;

Generally, there is a small picture in the GSDML file we downloaded, as shown in the following figure:

This image is what we see in the hardware configuration of the site.

Well, the content of GSD files will be introduced here.

My book “Siemens S7-200 SMART PLC Application Technology – Programming, Communication, Installation, Cases” has a detailed introduction of the S7-200 SMART PROFINET function, welcome to click the following link to view:

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S7-200 SMART PLC application technology



The above is the introduction and description of Indoor Industrial Ethernet Connector Straight Plug 8p Horn Male Female Rj45 Connector IP44, I hope it can be helpful to you.