MCM Panels Help Create Great Projects

You can find them on skyscrapers or single-family homes, gas station canopies and stadium scoreboards.

Here’s why MCMs are a great building component

By Yajaida Pacheco and Michael Bowie

Alpolic Aug21 1B Low Rez

Used to clad entire building envelopes or provide simple detailing support, you can find metal composite material (MCM) panels used in architectural projects across the country. For over 30 years, these products have provided highly engineered solutions for even the most challenging construction and are a favorite for professionals across the industry.

Rigid, Lighter, Flatter

Metal composite material (MCM) is produced by bonding thin sheets of metal to either side of a thermoplastic core with heat and pressure. It provides the rigidity of plate metal without the weight or the distortion commonly referred to as oil canning. Typically made with painted or treated aluminum, MCMs are also produced with zinc, copper, stainless steel and titanium, often referred to as natural metals. The thermoplastic core can be a traditional PE or fire retardant, which is required for buildings over 40 feet from grade.

Why Designers Want MCMs

In addition to the richness of natural metals, MCM is available in practically limitless finish options. Gloss ranges from 6 to 70 allow understated matte and the most opulent high gloss in shades across the spectrum. MCM can shimmer with special effects and prismatic finishes, and can even change appearance depending on the viewing angle. Patterns create the look of marble and timber without the cost, weight or maintenance. Available in 2-mm, 3-mm, 4-mm, or 6-mm, whether you need exterior or interior cladding, or any detail in between, MCM is a perfect fit.

Helping Meet Demands and Deadlines

Sustainable MCM is made from highly recyclable materials that support efforts in LEED certification. An accessible American manufacturing headquarters provides quick service and Made in the USA products on demand. Available in quantities as small as 1,000 square feet, affordable MCM can be produced to custom order with manageable lead times, but sometimes faster is better. With over 100 finishes in stock, these premium materials are ready to deliver exceptional results.

A Fabricator’s Best Friend

Reputable MCM manufacturers will produce sheets that are trimmed and squared. Protective film preforms double duty, protecting the finish as well as providing directional arrows for installation assistance. Materials are primed on the unfinished back for additional protection. Quality production operations ensure that sheets are shipped in custom-built six-sided pallets, sized to each order, to mitigate potential damage during transport. Materials can be flipped to order, delivered with the finish side facing up or down as requested. Premium MCM can be easily formed into complex shapes, challenging curves, and fit numerous installation systems. Whether a sealed system or rainscreen, an interior application or custom design, MCMs are built for the job.

A Great Finish

Getting the right look that lasts starts with a great finish. Next generation FEVE Fluoropolymer paint systems provide truer colors in the widest gloss range. And when only the perfect shade will do, rely on the custom color matching expertise of your MCM manufacturer. These innovative products meet the AAMA 2605 standard, have built-in graffiti-resistance and are easy to clean and maintain. Quality composite panels can come with finish warranties of 10, 20 or 30 years and an in-situ warranty gives greater value to your investment with protection that goes far beyond the material cost. MCM delivers the look, performance and longevity every building owner deserves.

Whatever the role on the design and build team, your MCM manufacturer should be there through the entire process, just a phone call away. Manage tight lead times with responsive customer support, order free samples and literature for your design board, and reach out to the manufacturer’s technical service team to get reports like the EPD, PTD or independent certifications to help navigate specifications. From the regional sales manager to the quality assurance department, find a support team that is standing by for your toughest questions. Build your next project with the help of metal composite materials.

Yajaida Pacheco is the marketing communications coordinator for Chesapeake, Va.-based Mitsubishi Chemical America Inc.’s ALPOLIC Division. Michael Bowie is the technical support specialist for the division. For more information, visit or email

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