Metal Core PCB, MCPCB Manufacturing Service

Low-cost Metal Substrate PCB, Metal Backed PCB and Multi-layer Metal Core PCB Prototype Fabrication With Advanced Manufacturing Process

Overview of Metal Core PCB

What is Metal Core PCB?

Metal Core PCB(MCPCB), The Printed Circuit Boards reasonable thermal management solutions.

Metalcore PCB, also known as heat-sensitive PCB, insulated metal substrates PCB(IMS PCB), Metal PCB, Metal Base PCB, Metal Backed PCB, Metal Substrate PCB, Metal Clad PCB, etc., are designed to provide excellent thermal management, using metal substrates as circuit boards for radiator parts of circuit boards. These metal materials have high thermal conductivity. Aluminum is the most economical choice because it has excellent heat conduction and heat dissipation capacity and is cheaper than copper and steel. However, to adapt to different use scenarios, people choose different materials. Base metals in MCPCB are used as substitutes for FR4 or CEM-3 boards. They radiate heat from key panel components to less critical areas, such as metal radiator backings or metal cores. With the latest development of the high power LED, the demand for MCPCB has exploded.

Metal Substrate PCB Manufacturing Process

MCPCB is mostly single-sided IMS, metal core PCB Manufacturer can also produce double-sided MCPCB, sometimes multi-layer IMS PCB and Metal Core PCB Prototype according to need. They have a very advanced and perfect metal core PCB Manufacturing process. Whichever MCPCB is chosen, the heat dissipation capability should be taken into account when selecting the thickness of base material and copper. The thermal conductivity is expressed in W/mK. The value of the standard aluminum sheet is 1.0 W/mK, but other options maybe 2.0, 3.0, or even 5.0 W/mK.

Most MCPCB surface treatments use HASL LF. Without exceptional spacing elements and BGA, HASL LF may be the most suitable finish for the power LED components. However, nothing prevents us from proposing all other surface treatments; OSP, ENIG, Chem Tin, or Silver for IMS applications.

Learn More Our PCB Manufacturing Capabilities

Detailed Introduction of MCPCB

Metal Core PCB Board

Conventional PCB uses FR4 epoxy glass-based material on both sides of aboard. However, with the growing popularity of light-emitting diode or LED technology, metal core printed circuit board or MCPCB are being deployed to deal with the increased heat LEDs generate.

Today, metal core PCB are finding more significant numbers of applications in the automobile industry, traffic light signal technology, in commercial buildings, shopping malls, and even inside homes.

MCPCB uses either an aluminum or copper core with the bottom side of the board, serving as the heat sink. MCPCB is also used to dissipate heat in intense power-generating analog circuitry.

Metalcore PCB are connected through mounting holes and screws through a box build’s chassis. In this arrangement, heat is not only dissipated through the metalcore, but it is also transmitted to the frame. Hence, an LED or analog device-populated board has a considerably larger surface finish for dissipating that heat.

But here’s a word of caution about using MCPCB – actually two things to be cautious about.

  • you need to know that making an MCPCB is complex and complicated because a metal layer is laminated with FR4, a glass-base material. Therefore, the chemistry for lamination is different during board fabrication. There is a fair possibility that there would be voids underneath the lamination if it is not bonded correctly.
  • A fixture to dissipate the heat from the metal core needs to be carefully defined and designed. Both these concerns demand experience.

At JHYPCB, we’ve been doing this for a long time as one of the professional MCPCB/ Aluminum PCB manufacturers from Shenzhen, China. We can produce metal core PCB Prototype or aluminum PCB prototyping, aluminum PCB Board for led, No Quantity Requirements, and can successfully guide you through your next MCPCB project. 

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Metal Core PCB Materials

Metal Core PCB material including Aluminum Core PCB, Copper Base PCB, Iron base PCB. Aluminum is popular in the market specializing in the LED lights market because of Cost.

Metal Core PCB means the core (base) material for PCB is the metal, not the normal FR4/CEM1-3, etc. and currently, the most common metal used for MCPCB manufacturer are Aluminum, Copper and steel alloy. Aluminum has good heat transferring and dissipation ability, but yet relatively cheaper; copper has even better performance but relatively more expensive, and iron can be divided into standard steel and stainless steel. It more rigid than both aluminum and copper, but thermal conductivity is lower than them too. People will choose their own base/core material according to their different applications.

Learn More: Classification Of PCB Materials And How To Choose The Correct PCB Substrate

1. Aluminum PCB

Aluminum PCB , also, it is called Aluminium PCB, metal core PCB, MCPCB, IMS(Insulated metal substracte).

Aluminum PCB have 3 parts:

  • Circuit Layer (Copper Layer)
    This is printed circuit copper foil layer, From 1.0 oz up to 8 oz (35um-280um). Min.Trace/space 5/5mil(0.127/0.127mm)
  • Dielectric Layer(Insulated Layer)
    There are very good price and delivery time if the raw material made in China and Taiwan, we also, have many customer who choose Bergquist Thermal-Clad and Larid Tlam material, strict meet customer’s Requirement to manufacture the aluminum PCB.
  • Substrate Layer(Metal layer)
    There are 4 types Aluminum, 1001, 3001, 5052, 6063. If no requirement of this from,we used 5052 for High thermal conductivity (2.0 W/m.k or more) , AL1001,AL3001 for 1.0 w/m.k to 1.5 W/m.k

Aluminum Clad PCB

Available as one layer Non-Plated Through Hole (single-sided) And 2+ layer Plated through Hole. Ideal application for LED lighting, power supply solutions. Aluminium Clad Benefits Include:

  • Lower operating temperature.
  • Reduce printed circuit board size.
  • Increase power density.
  • Extend the life of dies.
  • Reduce the number of interconnects.
  • Improve product thermal and mechanical performance.
  • Combine power and control.
  • Improve product durability.
  • Enable better use of surface mount technology.
  • Expedite heat sinks and other mounting hardware.
  • Replace fragile ceramic substrates with more exceptional mechanical durability

About Price

  • Price is based on the requirement of LED PCB.
  • PCB thickness: 0.6 – 3.0mm, always thickness more, price higher
  • Thermal conductivity: 1.0 – 10 W/m.k, thermal conductivity higher, price higher

2. Copper Core PCB

Copper core PCB is a copper substrate + Insulated layer + copper circuits layer PCB. Also, it is called copper substrate PCB, copper-based PCB, copper clad PCB.

As an MCPCB manufacturer, we made various Copper core PCB for customers, Which used for High Power LED lighter ( 1000W+ ) and power supply.

Copper Core PCB Stack up

In LED field, there are 4 types of Copper based Circuit Board.

  • COB Copper PCB(Chip on Board copper PCB)
  • LED chip Direct thermal sink to copper substrate.
  • Direct thermal path, no dielectric layer under the thermal path pad.
  • Direct thermal path, no dielectric layer, Aluminum-copper PCB.
Copper base COB PCB

Copper Base COB PCB Stack-up

Copper Base Core PCB

Copper Base Core PCB Stack-up

3. Iron-Based PCB

The iron-based PCB use material for the base is from special steel, silicon steel, and act in a stand of FR4 or CEM1 and can dissipate heat away from critical board components and to less crucial areas such as metallic core or the metal heatsink backing.

China PCB manufacturers become more and more professional on Iron-Based PCB.

The Iron-based PCB has all the functions as metal material and the following particular characteristics:

  • Vacancy area convenient for further machinery, procuring and fixing of the base ;
  • High mechanic strength, right further machinery suitable for the assembly heaven electronic parts on its surface;
  • Silicon-steel is iron magnetic and can be applied to micro-motors such as on VTR, FDD.

Metal Substrate PCB Stack up and Thickness

Single Layer Metal Core PCB Stack Up

Single Layer Metal Core PCB Stack Up

It consists of a single copper conductive layer on top, a metal base plate (e.g., Aluminum) to provide rigidness to the circuit board, and a thermally conductive dielectric working as the insulator.

Double-Sided Metal Core PCB Stack Up

It has two copper layers, and the metal core is between the copper layers. Plated Through Holes (PTH) are used to interconnect the copper layers so SMT and THT components can be placed on both sides.

Multilayer Metal Core PCB Stack Up

Multilayer Metal Core PCB Stack Up

It has more than two conductive layers separated by a thermal dielectric. At the bottom of the structure is the metal base. SMT components can only be placed on one side. Not THT components are allowed, but it provides the possibility to make blind and buried vias with internal signal layers and power/ground planes.

The thickness of metal cores in PCB base plates is typically 30 mil – 125 mil, but thicker and thinner plates are possible.

MCPCB copper foil thickness can be 1 – 10 oz.

Metal Core PCB Vs. Fr4 PCB Comparison

How Do Metal Core Circuit Boards Differ From FR4 Boards

MCPCB and FR4 PCB use different dielectric materials

One crucial difference to understand between standard PCB and MCPCB is how the materials work together to produce the desired result. In a typical LED MCPCB, there is a single circuitry layer of copper foil, which is bonded to a sheet of thermally conductive dielectric material, which is itself bonded to a thicker layer of metal – typically either Aluminum 5052, Aluminum 6061, or Copper C1100.

The dielectric material’s thermal conductivity is measured in Watts per meter, Kelvin (W/mK.) A 2.0W rating is reasonably common; such content is approximately 6x-7x as thermally conductive as FR4. A best practice is to keep the dielectric layer as thin as possible. Doing so creates the shortest possible path from the heat source to the metal backing plate, which is many times more thermally conductive than the dielectric material. Most of the materials come in a minimal range of thicknesses anyway, usually between .003″ and .006″. You won’t have all that much opportunity to specify something thicker that could diminish the effectiveness of the material at performing its thermal transfer function.

The Manufacturing Process is Slightly Different.

The metal backing plate used on the bottom side is the thickest element in the structure. It is available in several different thicknesses, but it is best to use one of the three most common (1.0mm, 1.5mm, and 3.2mm) because they are the easiest to purchase without delays. The metal layer adds rigidity, keeps the circuit flat, and adds enough thickness so that the MCPCB can use the same mounting hardware that would be used for any other standard thickness circuit board. The metal plate side of the board does not receive any surface finish or solder mask.

Conductivity

FR4 has low thermal conductivity, typically around 0.3W, while MCPCB has higher thermal conductivity, ranging from 1.0W-4.0W, most commonly around 2.0W.

Plated Through Holes

FR4 PCB typically uses plated through holes. Through-hole components possible if required. In MCPCB, plated through holes are not available for 1-layer PCB. All parts are surface-mounted.

Thermal Relief

Thermal relief in FR4 PCB typically involves vias for heat transfer. The longer drill cycle adds many processes. MCPCB materials provide thermal assistance. Via drilling, deposition, and plating processes are eliminated.

Solder Mask

FR4 PCB solder mask is typically dark colors (green, red, blue, black.) Usually applied top and bottom. MCPCB solder masks are almost exclusively white for LED boards. They are used to top only.

Thickness

FR4 PCB has a wide range of thicknesses available using various material combinations and layer counts. MCPCB thickness variation is limited by available backing plate thicknesses and dielectric sheet thicknesses.

Machining Process

FR4 PCB uses standard machining practices (drilling, routing, v-scoring, countersink, counterbore). In contrast, MCPCB uses the same machining as FR4, except that v-score must use diamond-coated saw blades for the added strain from cutting into metal.

Advantages and Applications of Metal Core PCB

Metal Core PCB Fabrication presents a host of beneficial features for a variety of applications. A lower thermal resistance can be achieved as a result of MCPCB’s, which incorporates a dielectric polymer layer together with a high thermal conductivity level.

Metal Core PCB Fabrication produces a product that transfers heat up to nine times more rapidly than a typical FR4 PCB. The laminates in MCPCB’s dissipate heat, which ensures that components which generate heat will remain cooler. This leads to a longer operating life as well as maximized performance for such components.

With the adoption of new technologies, there are many more applications for Metal Core PCB Fabrication. This technology is ideal for applications where components generate a large amount of heat and have difficulty being cooled using conventional fans and other cooling methods. In Solid-State Lighting, MCPCB’s help achieves a higher level of illumination with fewer LEDs required to produce it.Although LED-based Solid State Light technologies have countless advantages, they inherently produce significant amounts of heat. This makes Metal Core PCB Fabrication helpful for applications like:
LED lightsHigh-current LED, Spotlight, high-current PCB
Industrial power equipmentHigh-power transistors, transistor arrays, push-pull or totem pole output circuit (to tem pole), solid-state relay, pulse motor driver, the engine Computing amplifiers (Operational amplifier for serro-motor), pole-changing device (Inverter)
Carsfiring implement, power regulator, exchange converters, power controllers, variable optical system
Powervoltage regulator series, switching regulator, DC-DC converters
Audioinput – output amplifier, balanced amplifier, pre-shield amplifier, audio amplifier, power amplifier
OAPrinter driver, large electronic display substrate, thermal print head
OthersSemiconductor thermal insulation board, IC arrays, resistor arrays, Ics carrier chip, heat sink, solar cell substrates, semiconductor refrigeration device

JHYPCB manufacturing and assembly MCPCB and IMS PCB for many years. This makes us one of the highest quality metal core PCB manufacturers. To know more about our metal core PCBs, you can call us at +86-135-1075-8219. You can also mail us your requirements at sales@pcbjhy.com.

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