I replied to your posting on the Illustrator Forum so please take a look. Be sure to check out our website www.directengraving.com and feel free to contact me at email@example.com to discuss any questions you may have or to get additional information.
Laser Product Manager
Stork Prints Austria GmbH
I think there are lam mask style plates available for dry offset (same as letter press plates?), if so you can get a system that costs less than a direct laser engraver. They do make imagers that have magnetic drums for the steel backed plates.
The plate itself costs more, due to the mask layer, so I guess it depends on how many plates you will end up making.