The investment makes Communisis the first UK printer to install the wider T400 model of HP’s colour inkjet web press, as it continues with its plan to migrate from ‘legacy’ litho to digital printing, and will create up to 50 full-time positions at the Liverpool site.
Communisis has also made a commitment to provide its existing Speke staff with training that will allow them to be "upskilled" to enable them to migrate to the new platform.
The purchase also marks the culmination of a four-year investment plan in cutting-edge digital print technology and acquisiton-led expansion of the firm’s data and analysis services.
"The commitment to the T400 technology by Communisis confirms our leadership position in the emerging market for high speed colour digital in the UK," said chief executive Andy Blundell.
The first of Communisis’ two new presses was commissioned at its Liverpool site in January, with the second set to follow this June; together they treble the £208m-turnover plc’s digital capacity.
Communisis has worked with 18 major customers to date to realise the benefits of the HP platform and its latest install will allow the firm to migrate all of its Liverpool production to digital.
This means that the group can now produce around 30% of its 6bn-page annual output digitally.
Centrica was the first customer of Communisis’ Speke site to switch to the new technology, with a product that has been in the market since last month, and the group said it expected other "major transactional customers" to follow suit.
"The move is driven by our key transactional customers wishing to access benefits which include greater bill clarity and personalised marketing communication. Initial customer test data on improved response rates is very encouraging," said Blundell.
"Building on the success of our earlier T300 deployment at Leeds, this is pioneering technology and our strong relationship with HP has ensured both an effective installation with great support plus a roadmap to ongoing technology upgrades."
Aurelio Maruggi, vice president and general manager, Inkjet High-speed Production Solutions, HP added: "Communisis provides an excellent example of how HP Inkjet Web Press technology makes companies more efficient and more productive.
"This latest commitment will allow Communisis to transform its production environment by transitioning one-colour pages printed on roll-fed devices to full-colour, high-impact personalised pages."
The addition of the T400s in Liverpool to complement the T300s in Leeds creates a unified platform across both the company’s key sites and allows individual print runs while eliminating the need for pre-printed stationery and storage.
Communisis added that the T400’s ability to tackle variable data will provide a more efficient delivery process for Royal Mail through its grouping of mail by location destination.