How SKARDING helps their users cut costs with innovative lightweight Peli Air rack cases
SKARDING is a Bergen-based Norwegian flight case producer with a passion for quality and reliability. Their flight cases for rackmountable equipment are used by major recording artists and music producers as well as IT professionals across Norway. After only a year since the launch of the company, they are now serving customers on a worldwide basis.
In this user success story, we showcase how Håkon Skarding, founder and CEO of SKARDING, has found success over the last year, in particular with the flagship product: the Flyrack series. Fitting perfectly into a Peli Air case, the Flyrack series is a lightweight, modular, stackable and flexible rack frame, engineered to significantly reduce weight compared to traditional rack cases.
In 2020, Håkon Skarding, a musician and performing artist, along with a team of associates, decided it was time to find solutions for problems that they often faced while on tour. One of those issues was travelling with heavy musical equipment that caused significant physical strain, and also perhaps more importantly, resulted in high oversize baggage fees during air travel.
“I had a rack case that weighed something like 35 kilos for a four-unit rack. Just lowering it into a car was way too much.”
Using inspiration from traditional wooden road cases on the market that could be built to fit into heavy-duty plastic protective cases, Håkon and his team decided to do something similar.
“We took inspiration from heavy wooden rack cases that fit inside protective cases and said, ‘ok, we can do it better.’”
Firstly, they quickly concluded that Peli Air cases were the best choice to house their racks. Designed to be 40% lighter than other polymer cases without compromising durability, the use of Peli Air cases was a decision made in almost no time.
“Everybody knows Peli Air. Everybody knows it’s the best. And the data is quite simple as well: It’s the lightest. What we were targeting was to be the best, so you can’t settle for the second best.”
After a year of building prototypes of rack frames built with lightweight aluminium rather than wood, they finally settled on a rack design that was built to fit into the Peli Air 1607. Their 4U Flyrack frame comes in at a weight of 1.5 kilos compared to the 4 kilos that is typical of most 4U 19-inch rack frames. Couple that with the use of Peli Air cases and there is a significant reduction in weight compared to other rack cases on the market.
“That is a massive, massive difference in weight,” said Håkon. “If your equipment is already heavy, that’s also quite a lot of money saved.”
SKARDING has since produced a 2U, 3U and 6U version of the Flyrack, to go along with the original 4U. The 6U version is made to fit into the Peli Air 1637. Each version of the Flyrack compared to other traditional rack cases on the market reduces weight by over 50%.
Additionally, they’ve also produced the 2U TRX rack that is made specifically to fit into the Peli Air 1535, which makes it perfect for carry-on luggage for air travel, rather than check-in luggage.
Although the racks are made to fit into specific Peli Air cases, they are also designed to be flexible, able to be adjusted in both rack height and depth to accommodate alternatively-sized rackmountable equipment. This also makes it easy to replace individual parts that may have worn out rather than having to replace the entire frame.
Despite the different rack heights and cases of each unit, SKARDING has never wavered from making racks that significantly reduce weight as compared to traditional rack cases. Håkon commented further, “For us, it’s all about the weight. It has to be as light as possible so people can fit as much gear in it as possible. That’s the goal.”
After being in operation for only a year, SKARDING has sold over 100 pieces to prominent recording and performance artists across Norway and are now shipping worldwide.
“We sold over 100 pieces in less than a year, which is crazy for us […] It’s basically just me and a small team of associates that started [the company] up and tried to make a cool product. To see that it’s been warmly welcomed not just in Norway but around the world is incredible.”
The success of their flight cases comes down to fulfilling their stated goal, to not only create a significantly lighter rack case but also to save their customers money. By employing the use of the Flyrack, the reduction in weight compared to traditional rack cases, saves users the equivalent of the price of airfare for four flights in overweight baggage fees.
Skarding had one final comment about the Flyrack, “We’re not done. Our goal is to completely revolutionise the touring industry with lighter cases and solutions.”