One basic material used in the switchboard is the copper busbar. I currently think that no innovation has been made on the busbar design, as the majority of the use is still remaining flat copper bar.
Anyway, during the past 15 years, we have seen a strong development of different busbar section shapes (rather than just flat bars), in particular to make easier the life of the panel builder, who can now build an electrical panel or switchboard like a “Meccano”. One impact of using busbar shapes has been to reduce copper needed: the increase of the perimeter of the bubar section is giving a better heat exchange, allowing to decrease the cross section for the same busbar ampacity (current capacity), thus saving costly material ! The life of the panel builder is becoming easier with this type of busbar (special shapes also to make quick and easy connexions onto the busbar …), but I got some headaches to produce them, as due to the complexity of some shapes the tooling construction became more difficult and the lifetime of the tooling shorter.
With the high copper price, there is still a pressure on the busbar price. But as a copper busbar manufacturer I have the feeling that the panel builder may also have another look at the busbar shape and size he is using, as the cost driver for a busbar is the copper price more than the manufacturing costs : the size of busbar must be calculated very precisely to suit the need, trying to use busbar with a longer perimeter which have a better ampacity for the same cross section.
As an example, with a same cross section of 500 mm², you can increase the busbar ampacity (current capacity) by more than 20% using a 100×5 instead of 50×10!