Metal Core Printed Circuit Board

Leading the way for over 40 years

Metal Core Printed Circuit Board

When it comes to quality metal core printed circuit boards or any kind of PCBs, it is imperative to go with a partner who is ahead of the curve in terms of technological know-how. This is the exact reason why Mer-Mar Electronics is so popular. With over 40 years of experience, we are known for our state-of-the-art machines and rich expertise in terms of experienced professionals who are equipped with strong industry best practices. Precision engineering and robust testing are some of the other factors that explain our large portfolio of satisfied clients across industry verticals.

In fact, clients count on our expertise for their bespoke requirements. One of the PCBs that we specialize in, include Metal Core PCBs, which are an excellent alternative to standard circuit boards in applications where heat dissipation is imperative. While most PCBs use a thick FR4 core layer to provide structural stability Metal Core PCBs include a metal core layer which can be aluminum (aluminum core PCBs), copper (copper core PCBs or a heavy copper PCB) or a mixture of special alloys. Aluminum core PCBs are however commonly used.

Some of the advantages offered by Metal Core PCBs include:

  • They transfer heat up to 9 times more rapidly than a typical FR4 PCB. In turn, this leads to improved performance and a longer operating life for components.
  • The thermal conductivity also enables higher packing density, more stable operating parameters as well as higher operational safety.
  • The integration of the cooling unit in the printed circuit board also results in space savings.
  • Metal Core PCBs offer greater structural integrity.
  • Boards with aluminum, particularly, tend to be lighter in weight than ceramics.
  • Metals are non-toxic and are recyclable.
  • They are preferred in high vibration applications.

Why partner with Mer-Mar Electronics for
your metal core circuit board requirements?

Technical Expertise – Armed with the right technological know how and experienced personnel who have dealt extensively with Metal Core PCBs, we are well-poised to offer you best-in-class solutions that do justice to your project.

Prototype quantities to large production runs – You could be looking at new product development or could be going to market with a large production run. Either way, we have you covered. With Mer-Mar Electronics as your metal core PCB manufacturer, scalability is never an issue.

Quick turnaround time – Irrespective of the quantity that you require, we promise quick turnaround times. The fact that quick delivery does not come at the expense of quality is what endears our clients to us.

Metal Core Circuit Board Services

Metal Core Printed Circuit Board

Controlled Impedance Modelling

For PCBs that require controlled impedance, we offer modelling services. This ensures that OEM quality boards can operate between 100 MHz and 3 GHz. At Mer-Mar Electronics, our best practices also help boost overall signal integrity and to ensure that you have a quality product.

Metal Core Printed Circuit Boards

Metal Core PCB Design rule checks (DRCs)

Metal Core PCBs come with their specific design requirements. After determining the metal material and selecting standard dielectric laminates, the layer arrangement needs to be determined. The layer stack, in turn, determines several aspects of routing and component selection. With our design software, we ensure that the layout is optimized and that the board space is used correctly.

Metal Core Circuit Board

Design for manufacturability (DFM)

We offer robust DFM tests that result in designs that support manufacturing best practices, which in turn, result in quality PCBs. With our DFM tests you can rest assured that costly errors post manufacturing can be avoided.

Metal Core Circuit Boards

Metal Core PCB Fabrication and surface treatment

Count on us for fabricating a wide variety of metal core PCBs including the highly popular Aluminum and Copper PCBs. Whether your requirement is for single sided, double sided Metal Core PCBs or multi layered metal core PCBs, we have you covered. We also offer a wide range of surface coatings to ensure that the PCB is well protected in the environment that it has to be deployed.

Metal Core PCB

Metal Core PCB Prototyping

We are well-poised to deal with prototype and small volume orders without any restriction on the minimum order volume. We offer quick PCB prototypes that enable you to go-to-market early and that can be a big source of competitive advantage.

Metal Core PCBs

Metal Core PCB Surface Mounted Components

Count on us to ensure that the MCPCB design includes surface mounted components and does not include any plated through holes. This is important since the bottom layer is a thick piece of metal and hence any plated through hole can result in a short.

Metal Core Circuit Board Process

The basic structure of MCPCB comprises of the following:

  • Solder mask
  • Circuit layer
  • Copper layer – 1oz. to 6oz. (most commonly used 1oz. to 2oz.)
  • Dielectric layer
  • Metal core layer – heat sink or heat spreader

Let us look at the three important layers in some more detail:

Circuit layer

The circuit layer comprises of a copper foil which can vary in weight from 1 to 10 ounces

Thermal insulation layer

This layer is made up of ceramic polymer. It is used on account of its thermal resistance and viscoelastic properties. It is this layer that protects the PCB from mechanical as well as thermal stress.

Base layer

In case of aluminum PCBs, this is made of aluminium alloy substrate as it offers good heat dissipation and heat transferring ability. Typically they have the following specifications:

  • Aluminum thickness: 2mm to 8mm
  • 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”

Copper base can also be used. However copper is relatively expensive and copper also corrodes faster.

The process of manufacturing involves adding a thin layer of dielectric between the circuit layer and the base layer. The next step is to etch the copper foil to get the required pattern. It is the metal base layer along with the help of the dielectric layer that helps in heat dissipation.

Some of the major aspects that are kept in mind in the manufacturing process include:

Minimization of plated through-hole components – SMT components are preferred since the bottom layer is a metal plated through hole with conductive component leads can result in a short. Where PTH is implemented, due care is taken to ensure that the metal is isolated fro the through-hole. To do this, the metal core is drilled approximately 40-50 mils larger tha the plated through-hole. These holes are subsequently filled with non-conductive epoxy filler.

Elimination of vias – Since the metal core performs the function of heat dissipation, vias under components arent required. In turn, this ensures the drilling process is minimal. In case of single layer metal core PCBs, there is no need for electroless plating as circuit imaging can directly be done.

Stack up – Due care is taken to see that in case of multilayer MCPCBs the stack-up is symmetrical on either side of the metal core. This means that the number of layers above the core are kept equal to the number of layers below.

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Metal Core Circuit Board Capabilities

Our Metal Circuit Board capabilities for aluminium boards include the following:

  • Board thickness: 0.5-3.0mm
  • Copper thickness: 1-3oz
  • Thermal conductivity: 1.0-4.0W/m K
  • Breakdown voltage: 2-8KV
  • Solder mask: White, Black, Green, Blue
  • Profile Routing: V-CUT, Punch
  • Surface treatment: HASL, HAL (Lead-free), Immersion gold/Tin, OSP

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Application of Metal Core Circuit Boards

Metal Core PCBs with their high thermal conductivity permit an effective transfer of heat. They are, therefore, extensively used in:

  • High current applications
  • Power LEDs
  • SMD
  • Power Circuit Boards
  • Traffic lights
  • Automotive lighting
  • General lighting
  • Photovoltaic

FAQs

Looking for metal core circuit boards, metal core PCB design, multilayer metal core PCB or any custom metal core PCBs for your next project? Send us inquiry to Get a Quick Quote based on your custom requirements.

If you have any queries regarding to our metal core printed circuit boards or need an urgent assistance, then please don’t hesitate to contact our team of skilled personnel’s. Send us an email with your queries at sales@mermarinc.com or call us at (760) 244-6149. We are looking forward to hearing from you.