Metal Core PCB Manufacturer in China
High-quality, quick-turn metal core PCB fabrication services.
Why Choose PadPCB
When you send us the gerber file, our professional engineer will evalulate your design per layer and offer detailed quotation in short time.
The max capacity of our factory is about 50,000 square meter. It means that we can ensure the short turnout time for your project.
For each order, our sales will follow up all the manufacturing process and communicate with customer.
Our Metal Core PCB Customers
FAQs about Metal Core PCB
1. What is a metal core PCB?
A metal core PCB (MCPCB) is also known as a thermal PCB or a metal-backed PCB. The MCPCB has a metal material as a base instead of the FR4 materials as the heat spreader part of the PCB. The metal covering one side of the PCB is mostly aluminum or copper. During the operation of the board, some electrical components build some heat. The metal core helps divert heat towards the less important areas like metallic core or metal heat sink backing. As a result of these features, these metal core PCBs are very effective in thermal management.
When the metal core PCB has multiple layers, all the layers distribute evenly on both sides of the metal core. For example, if a PCB has eight layers, there will be four layers at the bottom and four at the top of the metal core.
2. Advantages of Metal Core PCB:
The metal core PCBs help integrate a dielectric polymer layer with high thermal conductivity to create low thermal resistance. These PCBs can transfer heat around nine times faster than standard FR4 PCBs so that heat-generating components remain cool. The further advantages of these thermal clad PCBs are:
- As the conductivity of metal increases, the heat transfer speed becomes faster.
- Aluminum boards have lesser weight than ceramic boards.
- The metal used in these PCBs makes them non-toxic and recyclable.
- As compared to epoxy substrates, metal substrates are more conductive and long-lasting.
- As the metal reduces the vibration, you can use metal core PCBs in high-vibration applications where there are chances of components falling.
- Aluminum PCBs can withstand a temperature range of 140-150 degrees Celsius.
- These PCBs have high thermal expansibility.
- Due to its small footprints, it has fewer hardware parts and thus lesser cost.
3. Types of metal core PCB
Based on the trace layers, metal core printed circuit boards are divided into categories.
Single layer Metal Core PCB structure:
- It has a metal base which is either copper alloy or aluminum
- Next is the layer of dielectric material
- Copper circuit layer
- IC components
- Solder mask
Aluminum is a better choice than copper as it is cheaper. Further, it also has a prepreg dielectric that faster transfers heat from the PCB components to the base plate.
Double-sided metal core PCB:
In this, double-sided and double-layer metal core PCBs are different. In the double-sided metal core PCB, the metal core is between the two conductive layers. A dielectric between the metal core and conductive layer connects the metal core to the conductor through SMD or vias.
In double layer metal core PCB, the conductive layers are on the top side of the metal core, and both the conductor layers are on the same side of the metal core. The metal core can either be iron alloys, copper or aluminum.
Multilayer metal core PCB structure:
The thermal dielectric separates the multiple copper layers, and the metal base lies at the bottom. You can place SMT components on one side, but no option for THT components. However, there is an option of making blind and buried vias. Compared to FR4, MCPCB manufacturing requires more experience, technology, and work in laminating the layers.
4. Metal Core PCB Materials and Thickness
Metal core PCBs are of different types based on the metals used. The different types are:
- Aluminum core PCB
- Copper core PCB/heavy core PCB
- The mixture of special alloys
Aluminum PCBs– Aluminum core PCBs are the most common. These PCBs provide better heat dissipation and heat transfer. Due to their lightweight, you can use these PCBs in audio frequency, LED lighting, and electronic communication devices. Here the thickness of the core may vary from 40 mils to 120 mils. However, 40 mils and 60 mils are the most common.
The characteristics of aluminum core PCB are:
- Thermal conductivity- 5W/(mK) to 2.0W/(mK) (Watts per meter Kelvin)
- Peeling strength- >9lb/in
- Solder resistance- SF: 288℃, >180 sec.
- Breakdown voltage- >3000V
- Dielectric loss angle- 0.03
- Flammability- UL 94V-0
- Panel size- 18” x 24”
PCBs with copper core boards have better performance. However, as these PCBs are expensive, people generally choose aluminum. Also, the weight of the copper core is higher and requires a difficult machining process. Copper corrodes quickly, which is another factor in not choosing copper core boards. Copper foil thickness can vary from 1 oz to 10 oz.
In iron-based PCBs, the materials can be silicon steel or any special steel, and these materials help dissipate heat away from the crucial components to metal cores or heat sinks. Iron-based PCBs are cheaper and more robust than copper and aluminum PCBs but are heavier.
5. Metal core PCB application
You can use metal core PCBs in applications that generate a large amount of heat which is impossible to cool with regular fans. Industries use metal core PCBs as a conductive cooling option in such cases.
The most common use of MCPCBs is in LED technologies, as it helps in reducing the number of LEDs to create the desired illumination. You can use MCPCBs in applications including:
- Backlight unit applications
- General lightning
- Photovoltaic cells
- Solar panels
- Hybrid or electric motor control applications
- Solid state relays
- Power supply devices: high voltage regulators, power converters, telecom, industrial, switching regulators
6. Metal core PCB stack up
All the MCPCBs have a basic structure that comprises the following:
- solder mask
- circuit layer
- copper layer-1oz to 6oz
- dielectric layer
- metalcore layer- works as a heat sink or heat spreader
The above structure is the basic one; however, it can vary in different layered PCBs.
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