As the names imply, metal core and metal back printed circuit boards (PCBs) use different types of metals as their core or backing, respectively. A popular choice for devices that require enhanced heat management, these types of PCBs are used in a variety of applications, especially those involving RF microwave circuits.

Whether you need a metal core or metal back PCB, or an entirely different type of board, we have the experience, capabilities, and technology to meet your needs for all types of layout, fabrication, and assembly.


Overview of Metal Core PCBs

Metal core PCBs channel heat through a metal base to the edge of the board. This ensures heat is kept away from important components, meaning the board will last and function as intended. These types of PCBs are created by layering metal with a thermally conductive dielectric material. Advantages to this type of construction include durability, a longer lifespan, and improved performance. Metal core PCB considerations to keep in mind include the weight of the PCB and potential cost implications.

Overview of Metal Back PCBs

Metal back PCBs consist of metal backing on one side of the board, which serves as a protective layer. These boards are formed by bonding the metal backing with a heat conductive adhesive to the outermost layer. While potential challenges may include weight and the complexity of the PCB fabrication, metal back PCBs are known for their rigid structure and are an ideal selection for enhanced heat management.

Similarities and Differences Between Metal Core & Metal Back PCBs

While both types of boards offer effective heat management, they differ in terms of heat distribution. Metal core PCBs channel heat to the edge of the board whereas metal back PCBs focus on the entire back of the board.

Metal back PCBs are more often used in RF microwave applications, which operate on signals in the megahertz to gigahertz frequency ranges (very low frequency to extremely high frequency).

Applications for Metal Core & Metal Back PCBs

  • RF microwave: Used for communication signals in everything from cell phones to military radar
  • Military aerospace: Monitoring and communication equipment, power supplies, flight systems, and hardware
  • Defense: Communications equipment, radar, control systems, computers, vehicles, firearms, and warfighter equipment
  • High-intensity LED modules: Residential homes, stores, computers, business lighting, displays, and hospitals
  • Consumer electronics: Examples include cell phones, tablets, dishwashers, computers, radios, and home appliances
  • Medical devices: X-ray equipment
  • Automotive: LiDAR, navigation and entertainment systems, control systems, and sensors
  • Industrial machinery: Manufacturing equipment, which includes automation and processing equipment

Metal Core & Metal Back PCB Lead Times

Lead times may vary due to the complexity of the project, but in general, these types of boards have a 3–15 day turnaround.

Cirexx Is Your Metal Core & Metal Back PCB Manufacturer

Cirexx is your best-in-class solution for PCB layout, fabrication, and assembly. With more than four decades of experience, we have manufactured all types of PCBs — including metal core and metal back — and we’ve worked with a wide range of industries all over the world. The depth of our manufacturing expertise is why our customers choose Cirexx; every year, we invest in state-of-the-art equipment and the newest technology to provide the best capabilities and hold very tight PCB fabrication tolerances.

Contact us today for more information or to connect with our sales team.

Need a Metal Core or Metal Back PCB Quote?

We use a well-organized process and the right software to provide you with a quote within 24 hours. After you upload your information, including any fabrication drawings or schematics, our system and engineering staff will analyze the data and provide us with a comprehensive document so we can take a closer look at your project.

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