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Top 12 Metal Core PCB Manufacturers In 2023

Introduction

Metal core PCBs, also known as MCPCBs or insulated metal substrate PCBs, are a type of printed circuit board that utilizes a metal core as the base instead of the more common FR-4 material. The metal core allows for superior thermal performance, making MCPCBs ideal for high-power and high-temperature applications.

With the growth in electric vehicles, renewable energy, LED lighting, and other cutting-edge technologies, demand for metal core PCBs has expanded rapidly in recent years. As a result, there are many reputable MCPCB manufacturers around the world producing these advanced circuit boards. This article will examine the 12 top metal core PCB manufacturers in 2023.

Overview of Metal Core PCBs

Before diving into the major MCPCB manufacturers, let’s briefly overview metal core PCB technology:

  • Substrate – Rather than FR-4, the substrate is made from a thin layer of aluminum, copper, or other metal alloy. This provides exceptional thermal conductivity.
  • Dielectric – A dielectric layer separates the metal substrate from the copper layers to prevent shorts. Popular dielectrics include ceramic, aluminum oxide, and aluminum nitride.
  • Copper layers – Like standard PCBs, MCPCBs have etched copper layers on the dielectric for traces, pads, vias, etc. There are typically 1-36 copper layers.
  • Solder mask and silkscreen – The solder mask and silkscreen functions the same as on FR-4 PCBs. The solder mask exposes pads and traces, while the silkscreen prints component outlines, labels, and other markings.
  • Thermal vias – Plated through holes connect the copper layers to the metal substrate. This allows heat to efficiently conduct from components down through the PCB.
  • Insulation – The bottom of the PCB is covered with an insulating layer to prevent electrical shorts.

Now let’s look at the top metal core PCB manufacturers supplying this advanced technology in 2023.

1. RayMing Technology

aluminum substrate pcb

RayMing Technology has been a leading metal core PCB manufacturer for over 15 years. The company utilizes cutting-edge facilities and processes to produce high-quality MCPCBs with fast turnaround times. RayMing specializes in prototyping and medium to high volume production.

Location: China

Services:

  • Prototyping and low volume
  • Medium and high volume production
  • Quick turnaround – 24 hours for prototyping
  • Solder mask and silkscreen capabilities
  • 0.4mm min line width and space
  • 0.15mm microvias
  • Panel sizes up to 600x1200mm
  • Aluminum or copper substrate
  • Aluminum oxide, aluminum nitride ceramic dielectric

RayMing has a strong reputation for meeting specifications, delivering on-time, competitive pricing, and exceptional customer service. They are a great option for MCPCB manufacturing and sourcing in Asia.

2. Tier 1 Metal Core PCB Manufacturers in the USA

There are several reputable metal core PCB manufacturers located in the United States including:

2.1 Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Collins is an industry leader in avionics, communications, and other advanced technology applications. Their Printed Circuit Board Solutions division produces high-reliability MCPCBs for military, aerospace, and industrial sectors.

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Capabilities

  • Aerospace and defense qualified
  • Medium to high volume
  • Wide range of dielectrics
  • 0.125mm lines and spaces
  • ENIG or Immersion Silver finishing
  • 2 mil microvias
  • Quick turn prototypes
  • IPC 6012 Class 3 fabrication
  • ITAR registered

2.2 Lenthor Engineering

Lenthor Engineering has over 25 years of experience designing and manufacturing a wide array of PCBs including metal core, ceramic, flex, and rigid-flex boards. They are ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certified.

Location: Waterbury, CT, USA

Capabilities:

  • Prototyping to medium volume
  • 0.005″ lines and spaces
  • 2-36 layer construction
  • Panel sizes to 18″x24″
  • Aluminum or copper base
  • Aluminum oxide, aluminum nitride ceramic dielectric
  • Conformal coating
  • Flex & rigid-flex
  • Mil-cert and ITAR options

2.3 Tag Connect

Tag Connectprovides end-to-end PCB solutions from design to assembly. They offer advanced HDI technology and are experts in producing MCPCBs and other special PCBs.

Location: Belmont, CA, USA

Capabilities:

  • Quick turn prototypes
  • Medium to high volume production
  • Fine line PCBs – 0.002″ lines and spaces
  • Buildup dielectric and foil
  • Microvias and buried vias
  • FR-4, Rogers, Arlon, polyimide
  • Flying probe test
  • Conformal coating

2.4 Advanced Assembly

Advanced Assembly has been manufacturing PCBs in the USA for over 20 years. In addition to conventional boards, they produce HDI, metal core, and flex PCBs for aerospace, defense, telecoms, and other demanding industries.

Location: Aurora, CO, USA

Capabilities:

  • Prototyping
  • Onshore production
  • 0.003″ trace and space
  • Blind and buried vias
  • Microvias – 0.002″
  • 8-52 layers
  • Via in pad
  • Solder mask slop control
  • Conductive anodic filament (CAF) testing

3. Leading European MCPCB Manufacturers

mcpcb manufacturer

Europe also has a number of respected PCB fabricators producing metal core boards, including:

3.1 Scanfil EMS

Scanfil EMS has factories across Scandinavia, Europe and Asia providing complete electronics manufacturing services. Their PCB production facilities in Sweden and Germany manufacture advanced metal core, ceramic, and other special PCBs.

Locations: Sweden, Germany

Capabilities:

  • Prototyping
  • Low to medium volume
  • Fine line PCBs
  • Laser direct imaging
  • Flex and rigid-flex
  • Polyimide and LCP
  • Heavy copper boards
  • Partial plating
  • Carbon printing

3.2 AT&S

AT&S is a global leader in high-end PCBs for automotive, industrial, medical, and telecom applications. They offer an array of cutting-edge capabilities ideal for MCPCBs and other special designs.

Locations: Austria, India, China

Capabilities:

  • Extreme HDI – 0.005mm line/space
  • Any-layer buildup
  • Heavy copper up to 400μm
  • Microvias down to 50μm
  • Buried vias
  • Laser via formation
  • Flex and rigid-flex
  • Automated optical inspection (AOI)
  • Direct imaging (LDI)

3.3 NCAB Group

NCAB Group provides PCB sourcing, procurement, and supply chain management services. They partner with a network of qualified manufacturers around the world including producers of MCPCBs.

Locations: Europe, Asia

Capabilities:

  • Flexible sourcing options
  • Engineer-to-engineer communication
  • Value-added services
  • Quality control
  • Logistics management -ISO 9001, 14001, 13485
  • Prototyping to high volume
  • HDI technology
  • 0.15mm microvias

4. Top MCPCB Manufacturers in Asia

mcpcb material

Many of the largest metal core PCB manufacturers are located in Asia due to the expertise and low production costs available in countries like China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Some of the leading Asia-based producers include:

4.1 KingFord PCB

Kingford PCB has factories in China specializing in quick turn, high mix, low volume MCPCB production. They offer competitive pricing for small to medium quantities.

Location: Dongguan, China

Capabilities:

  • 24 hour prototype turnaround
  • Low to medium volumes
  • 0.15mm microvias
  • 0.2mm lines/spaces
  • Panel size 305 x 457mm
  • Copper substrate
  • Thermal vias

4.2 PCBCart

PCBCart provides cost-effective PCB solutions including design, sourcing, assembly, and component procurement. Their China factories produce quality MCPCBs in small to large quantities.

Location: China

Capabilities:

  • Sourcing assistance
  • Prototyping
  • Low to high volume
  • Quick delivery – 24-48 hours on many boards
  • FR-4, high Tg, halogen free
  • HDI – 0.006″ line/space
  • Conformal coating, carbon printing
  • ENIG, immersion silver, OSP, HASL finishes

4.3 JY Ciruit

JY Circuit has a factory in China specializing in quick turn prototype and on-demand small batch production. They offer cost-effective MCPCB manufacturing with solid quality.

Location: Jiangsu, China

Capabilities:

  • 24 hour prototype production
  • On-demand small batches
  • Short lead times
  • Prototype and low volume focus
  • Soldermask and silkscreen
  • FR-4, CEM, Rogers, Teflon
  • 0.15mm microvias
  • Carbon printing

4.4 Wonderful PCB Tech

Wonderful PCB Tech provides engineering consultation and manufactures PCBs in China including rigid, flex, and rigid-flex circuits. They produce quick turn prototypes and accept small to medium production orders.

Location: Huiyang, China

Capabilities:

  • Quick turn prototypes – 24 hours
  • Small to medium volumes
  • Engineering consultation
  • Flex PCBs
  • Rigid-flex
  • Multi-layer
  • Blind and buried vias
  • Microvias – 0.1mm
  • HAL lead-free assembly

5. MCPCB Manufacturing Technology trends

Metal core PCB technology continues advancing each year enabling higher performance boards critical for cutting-edge devices and applications. Some of the latest MCPCB manufacturing trends include:

  • Thinner dielectric material – Allows closer dielectric spacing between copper layers for increased component densities and more layers in the same PCB thickness.
  • Finer lines and spaces – Enables better routing for complex, dense designs. Line width and spacing down to 0.002 inches are achievable.
  • Higher aspect ratio plated through holes – Allows thinner PCBs by increasing the plated through hole depth vs diameter ratio. This provides greater heat dissipation without consuming as much board space.
  • Tighter tolerance control – Precise process controls from direct imaging, laser drilling, automated optical inspection, and other innovations result in PCBs built exactly to specifications.
  • Advanced thermal management – New dielectric and conducting materials with higher thermal conductivity improves heat spreading and dissipation through and across the board.
  • Improved voltage isolation – Manufacturing innovations allow the dielectric layers to better withstand high voltages between copper sheets without breakdowns.

As technology marches forward, MCPCB manufacturers will utilize these and other innovations to build metal core PCBs capable of meeting the needs of ever more extreme environments and applications.

6. Finding the Right MCPCB Manufacturer

With so many metal core PCB manufacturers to choose from, here are some helpful tips on selecting the right partner:

  • Define requirements – Determine the critical needs like lead times, production volumes, design complexity, and performance specifications.
  • Get quotes – Reach out to several manufacturers to get pricing. Be sure quotes cover all requirements.
  • Evaluate capabilities – Look for demonstrated experience in building quality MCPCBs with similar requirements.
  • Quality systems – Choose suppliers with credentials like ISO 9001 to ensure rigorous quality control.
  • Reliability – Opt for manufacturers with a solid reputation for on-time delivery and responsive customer service.
  • Verify competency – Ask for past performance data, customer referrals, facility audit rights, and other proof of competency.
  • Check communications – Ensure the supplier has efficient channels for collaborating during the design, prototyping, and production process.

Selecting the MCPCB company best aligned with your specific needs and building a relationship of trust is key to success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the benefits of metal core vs FR-4 PCBs?

A: Metal core PCBs offer far superior thermal performance compared to standard FR-4 boards thanks to the high thermal conductivity of the metal substrate. This allows them to operate at higher temperatures and power levels without overheating. The electrical and mechanical characteristics are also better suited for high frequency and other demanding applications.

Q: What types of applications typically use MCPCBs?

A: Common applications for metal core PCBs include LED lighting, lasers, power amplifiers, motor/motion control, battery charging, inverters, PFC stages, welding equipment, e-cigarettes, and automotive electronics. Their thermal and electrical characteristics make them ideal for these high-power uses.

Q: What are some key considerations when designing an MCPCB?

A: Some important design considerations include: minimizing conductor lengths, allowing room for thermal vias, accounting for thermal expansion of the metal substrate, minimizing board layers, selecting appropriate dielectric material, allowing adequate copper weights, and configuring components for efficient cooling. Consulting closely with your PCB manufacturer is highly recommended.

Q: What special assembly considerations are needed for MCPCBs?

A: The assembly process may need adjustments to account for the thermal expansion difference between the metal substrate and FR-4 boards. Soldering profiles and temperatures may also need adjustment. Using a thermal relieving process after population can help avoid stresses. The manufacturer should provide assembly guidance.

Q: How much does metal core PCB fabrication cost compared to standard PCBs?

A: MCPCBs typically have a higher cost due to the more complex materials and manufacturing processes. However, for high power applications the metal core PCBs enable, the additional expense is justified by their capabilities and performance. Cost also depends on quantity – small runs are more expensive than higher volume production.

 

 

 

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